Tuesday, May 10, 2016

'The Children' by Ann Leary

The ChildrenThe Children by Ann Leary
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3.5 stars

Old money meets love and deceit in Ann Leary’s novel The Children.

The children are all adults now: Perry and Spin, the sons of Whit Whitman and scions of the wealthy Whitman family; Sally and Charlotte, daughters of Whit’s second wife Joan; and Everett, son of the groundskeeper of Lakeside, the grand Whitman lake house.

Whit and Joan married when Sally and Charlotte were little and Spin was still a baby, so the children all grew up together. Not Whitmans in name, Sally and Charlotte saw Whit as their father and were accepted as family, but they were not made heirs to the Whitman fortune.

Whit died two years previously but provided for Joan to remain at the lake until her death, and she and Charlotte still live there. Sally is a violinist in New York, Perry is married and living in the Hamptons, and Spin, now 26, is teaching and living at the private boarding school up the road where all the Whitmans went to school and Whit had been a trustee.

The arrangement holds until Spin meets his future wife. With her arrival, the cracks in the foundation are exposed and widened. Sally and Charlotte have their own issues that come into play, but it’s Charlotte’s occupation--successful mommy blogger when she has no children--that bring to light the least savory aspects of the new reality.

Ann Leary captures an old family in transition and an aspect of new Internet culture at once. Told from Charlotte’s point of view, the novel is most engaging when describing the quirks and joys of life at Lakeside. There are a great many things going on in this novel, not all of which feel as if they are examined thoroughly. Perhaps it is true to life, but not many of the characters change dramatically in the end, either. Although I enjoyed reading this book, I saw the big plot elements coming. I’d say The Children would make a good beach read.

I received a digital galley from NetGalley.

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