The quiet part of Eastern Long Island is invaded by the glitterati and the Twitterati—will they ruin it entirely?
"Let the billionaires have the Hamptons on the South Fork, with the shops and restaurants and parties that re-created what made them so exquisitely comfy in Manhattan. The North Fork was two ferry rides away, and it showed….It was pies and parades and stony beaches that hurt your feet, banging screen doors and peaches eaten over the sink." Blundell's (A City Tossed and Broken, 2013, etc.) latest is her first novel for adults, and she brings to it much more than just believable teen characters. As this accomplished, engrossing domestic drama begins, North Fork resident Ruthie is losing it all. An ultrarich widow is taking over both her house and her ex-husband; she's being betrayed by her staff and ousted from her job as director of a small museum; her lovely 15-year-old daughter is involved in dangerous relationships she knows nothing about. Blundell has more balls in the air than most writers could smoothly handle—a Patek Philippe watch, lost then stolen; a forged painting; a character with a deeply buried, sordid past; lots of art-world specifics—but the story never feels overstuffed, and she steers confidently toward a satisfying blend of happy and imperfect endings. A dim view of what it means to be a middle-aged woman crops up here and there, creating an interesting curmudgeonly undercurrent. Of an overweight teenage girl: "At forty-five, the iron gate of indifference would clang down...and she would know she was stuck back exactly where she was in high school as if all that sex and attention had happened to someone else." After a betrayal: "A man might feel anger right now. As a woman, she felt only shame."
Luscious but not too sweet, astute but not too serious, Blundell's novel is a treat you don't have to feel guilty about and a sign of good things to come.