Since reading Leary's previous novel THE GO6OD HOUSE, which came out in early 2013, I have been anxiously awaiting her next release. In May of this year THE CHILDREN was published and, finally, the wait was over. In THE GOOD HOUSE, the main character had such a bold presence and I was curious to see if this book mirrored that. Let's just say I was not disappointed with Charlotte Maynard at all.
Charlotte is a member of an old prominent New England family. It's not a traditional family but more of a modern family with its complicated family tree. She is a 29 year-old recluse who seldom leaves the family home that sits on the best part of a beautiful lake, but that's not what makes Charolotte interesting. The interesting thng is that Charlotte has a secret that even her family doesn't know about. She would love to be able to tell them all about it, but she has painted herself into a corner that she can't get out of without bringing herself down.
The slightly odd but functioning family dynamic is going along smoothly until Spin, the favorite and youngest member of this disjointed family brings his fiance home for the summer. As the family gets to know this beautiful and successful woman, Charlotte's curiosity turns into something more. She's suspicious but no one will listen to her because of her hermit-like existence, no matter how much she insists that something just isn't right. As the summer progresses, so do the cracks in this family reveal themselves as never before.
I will get right to it and say that after reading this book I am an even bigger fan of Ann Leary. This multi-dimensional story is driven by interesting characters that made me not want to stop reading. The locale, the once beautiful and now worn down house on the lake, and the people were so vivid in my mind. Leary's writing style allowed the story to be revealed bit by bit which let me, the reader, learn things at the same time the characters did. It was an engaging read that kept my attention and curiosity piqued throughout.
Leary has created a complex story with this flawed family and manages to do it with (mostly) likable characters. I found it to be original and current. I love that Charlotte is a blogger because I could relate to a small part of her world and appreciate it. At only 256 pages, it was a quick read but after finishing it I didn't pick up another book for several days because I was still processing the story. And it has stayed with me since. THE CHILDREN was a book I truly enjoyed reading. I even liked it more than THE GOOD HOUSE and I can't wait to see what she comes up with for her next novel.
I highly recommend this book and hope you make the time to read it. Special thanks to St. Martin's Press for providing me with my e-copy. It is definitely on my list of top books that I've read this year.
Author: Ann Leary
Publisher: St. Martins Press
Published: May 2016
Length: 256 pp