In 1976, handsome and charming Gil’s arrival in an exclusive, white, summer-island community inflames two girls’ rivalry with disastrous results.
The novel’s opening scene reveals an
unidentified girl on the verge of drowning and surprised that Gil isn’t there
to save her. The rest of the novel is a flashback of Gil’s ultimately
unsuccessful attempts to juggle the romantic attachments of two island girls.
Jean’s family belongs on the island, as proven by the Junior Cup tennis trophy
inscribed with her mother’s and sister’s names. So it was bitter for Jean to
lose it the previous summer to Fritz, a working-class white girl invited to the
island each year by her best friend’s family. Jean’s unhappiness grows when
Gil, the long-lost nephew of a prominent islander, arrives and immediately
begins dating Fritz, although he’d already met and kissed Jean in New York
City. Determined to climb the social ladder using his rich family’s acceptance,
Gil treats both girls callously. Even still, Jean constantly schemes to win his
affections, poor Fritz falls in love with him, and readers await the
approaching, seemingly inevitable tragedy, which unfolds in Griffin’s customarily meticulous prose.
A reminder, if one is still needed, that it doesn’t pay to be the interloper in a community of rich, upper-crust-society snobs. (Historical fiction. 14-18)