Genre: Fiction, Coming of Age
“Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery’s vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?
Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal.
As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.”
This book is not what I would normally choose to read. If I were strolling through Barnes and Noble, chances are I wouldn’t give this a second glance. Which is a shame, because I would have missed out on one really good book.
From the beginning the story moves between two time periods, form 2015 to 1955. (Who doesn’t love a good flash back?) Between Cassie, and her grandmother June. After her grandmother passes Cassie inherits her mansion which is really falling apart. That’s alright though because ironically enough Cassie seems to be falling apart as well. So the two are very compatible. There are many things around the mansion that need fixing. A sinking ceiling, a stove with only one working burner…..a cracked foundation. Cassie simply has no motivation to address any of this, let alone take a shower some days. Clearly she’s become depressed after losing the woman who raised her.
Two Oaks, the house, barely acknowledges her presence. The house is personified which I really liked. I enjoy personification of inanimate objects. It’s just fun!
“The house nestled further into it’s thick, auburn slumber, gathering Cassie under its drowsy wing. On the occasions a sneeze or shattered plate forced it to notice the human in its midst, it brushed aside her potential, considering her presence a temporary state…”
Finally someone comes along and manages to get Cassie out of bed with persistent knocking (door bell ringing). This gentlemen notifies Cassie that she has just again inherited more property, about 37 million dollars, oh and an island. All from someone named Jack who is apparently her grandfather!? Suddenly his daughters (her aunts) demand the fortune back and that she take a DNA test to prove her relation!
I HAD to know what secrets June was hiding. I think I enjoyed June’s story more than I enjoyed Cassie’s. Even though Cassie seems to pull herself together as she learns about herself and her family, she didn’t have that something that June did. There were also plenty of other characters worth mentioning here. Lindie, June’s best friend, is a very high-spirited young girl who adores June and looks up to her. She’s also very supportive and protective of June. Jack Montgomery was June’s love interest here.
Tate Montgomery, Jacks daughter and Cassie’s aunt by default, has followed in her fathers footsteps and become an actress. Together with her older sister Elda they move into the mansion with Cassie. Along with Nate and Hank, assistants, who also move in. All together they uncover the secrets of the past that Two Oaks has seen. There were so many secrets revealed in this book! And the betrayal, and the murder!
Over all I give this book 3.5 of 5. Whittemore did a great job writing from two different perspectives, in two different time lines. The way she revealed all the secrets was just perfect. Not too fast and not at all too slow. Sometimes I felt that there was almost too much description and the story was a little drawn out. While it paints a perfect picture in our minds, and makes us feel as though we are right there in the time, it can also be a little hindering. My mind would often wonder and I realized there were times I didn’t even remember what I had just read because I got bored. While I enjoyed the old Hollywood elegance that’s depicted and the Gothic atmosphere the author created I can’t give it a full 5 or even 4. To some, too much detail may not really be a big deal but to me if a book doesn’t hold my attention 100% of the time then I just can’t give it a grade it doesn’t deserve. Of course that in no way means the plot wasn’t good. It was fantastic! I really did like this book.
Lastly but most importantly I want to say Thank You to Crown Publishing and Blogging for Books, from whom I received a beautiful hard cover copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. Thank you Random House and thank Miss Wittemore for your wonderful book! I enjoyed reading it very much and yes I definitely recommend it! To anyone who enjoys a good mystery, lots of secrets, Hollywood and of course mansions that give you vivid dreams of your grandmas past!