Love between a small-town girl and one of Hollywood’s leading men leads to murder, blackmail, and secrets.
Beverly-Whittemore (Bittersweet, 2015, etc.) returns with another charming page-turner, this time marrying old Hollywood elegance to Midwestern practicality. Fourteen-year-old Lindie may not know much, but she sure knows that marrying Artie Danvers would be the biggest mistake of her best friend June’s 18-year-old life. Enter Jack Montgomery, glamorous heartthrob, who’s come to St. Jude, Ohio, to film Erie Canal, a movie some locals hope will put their town on the map. Jack stumbles into June on the set one day, and it’s love at first sight. Except that Jack’s an already-divorced father and practically engaged to his co-star, Diane DeSoto, who takes an instant dislike to both June and Lindie. Lindie’s efforts to coordinate their Great Romance are thwarted not only by Diane, but also by Clyde—Artie’s older brother, Lindie’s father’s nemesis, and a scheming real estate tycoon wannabe. June and Jack find brief bliss, but the aftermath is catastrophic. Sixty years later, photographer and installation artist Cassie is reeling from a broken relationship. She moves back to Two Oaks, her grandmother June’s neglected mansion in St. Jude, and immediately begins dreaming of the house’s former inhabitants, with star-struck Lindie and June center stage. As if the haunted dreams weren’t unsettling enough, Cassie suddenly finds herself the sole beneficiary of Jack Montgomery’s estate, worth $37 million. Cassie soon finds herself playing hostess to Jack’s movie-star daughter, Tate; Tate’s yogini/barista personal assistant, Hank; and Tate’s very attractive executive assistant, Nick—all of whom intend to stay in St. Jude until the mystery can be solved. Although Beverly-Whittemore interweaves Cassie's and June’s stories deftly, her imagining of Two Oaks’ own consciousness is less successful. "In its excitement, the house ushered forth its crowd of memories, flooding the foyer and the parlors, where Nick and Cassie were discussing Jack and June." At times the house is swirling with all the characters of the past, but the effect is awkward rather than magical.
A lightly gothic tale of hearts broken and mended in small-town America.