Length: 301 pages
Setting: Ocean City, New Jersey, 2012 (around the time Hurricane Sandy hit)
Interest: It was one of the spring picks for the She Reads blog network (so I got a review copy, but my opinions are all my own)
Summary: Esme, Liv, and Ru never really had a normal childhood. Part of the problem was their mother, Augusta, never told them who their father was. Once she said he was a spy, but never provided any details. Now, the sisters are grown and their lives are exploding at the same time. Esme’s husband has run away with a French dentist (sadly female, so their daughter, Atty, won’t get any sympathy from the kids at her snooty boarding school.) Atty herself has a break down that involves an antique gun, so she’s kicked out of the school. Liv and her third husband have separated and she is (once again) using a variety of pharmaceuticals to deal with the separation. Ru is a famous writer (her first book was a blockbuster book and movie), but has severe writer’s block for her second book. She’s recently engaged, but went to Vietnam to get away from him and find inspiration. After Hurricane Sandy hits their mother’s house, they all end up back home with Augusta. Augusta’s got her own problems. She was given a box of letters from Nick Flemming about her family. Nick was the man she fell in love with, had kids with, and then kicked out of her life. He didn’t actually leave their lives, just watched and helped anonymously. Augusta finally opens up to her daughters about him and bring him back into their lives. Nick finally gets a chance to be directly involved with his family.
Final thoughts: I loved this book, and I’ll be recommending it to my friends to read. When I finished the book, I gave a happy sigh of contentment. It was a delightful family drama. Everyone was messed up, but no one was really making excuses for their problems. They were just trying to deal with their problems as well as they could, like real people do. The girls finally get a chance to meet their father. It felt like closure on an issue they had even forgotten was an issue, it was so basic to their family dynamic. Once they meet him, although things aren’t perfect, they are better. I loved the characters in the book as well – they all felt so real. Messed up but trying hard. Loving each other, but still knowing how to push those buttons so easily. Atty was my favorite, especially as she live-tweeted everything. I’m sure it will date the book soon enough to be tweeting and hashtagging everything, but I still enjoyed it. I also want to teach my kids to conduct storms, like Augusta taught her daughters. It’s a great metaphor for life and appreciation of nature.
Title comes from: Not an obvious one. I kept waiting for the phrase to show up in the text, but I never noticed it. My guess is it refers to the family and their relationship to each other.
Reading challenges fulfilled: an A in my Author Reading the Alphabet Challenge, and #32 in my Maybe 100 This Year Challenge
If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!