CAMEO LAKE by Susan Wilson


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Neglected wife finds new love, in a glum tale by the author of Hawke’s Cove (2000), etc.

Cleo Grayson McCarthy, midlist novelist and middle-aged mother of two, flees her family for the mountains of New Hampshire in order to finish her manuscript. Sean, her insurance-agent mate, is a workaholic; he won’t miss her much, and she’s still sulking about the brief affair he had a while back. Cleo figures that her children, Tim and Lily, are old enough to do without her for a summer—besides, it’s high time Sean did his share of parenting. A lesbian pal lends her a lakeside cabin, and Cleo settles in, laptop and binoculars at the ready. Ostensibly birdwatching, she spots a sexy neighbor hanging out his faded jeans to dry. What, no wife? Actually, Ben Turner, a composer, was married once, according to local gossip. Cleo makes his acquaintance, and, little by little, they trade life stories. She, the only child of hard-drinking, upper-class WASPs, has never had much fun. Sean is attracted to stupid younger women, her children love (gasp) spongy white bread. Moreover, although Sean’s boisterous Irish-American family practically adopted shy Cleo, she doesn’t trust his mother, Alice, who tolerated her own husband’s philandering and once advised her to do the same. Cleo is not so inclined, however, when Sean dumps the kids with her in New Hampshire and pretends he’s working late every night. She enrolls Tim and Lily in summer camp and finds herself spending even more time with Ben. Turns out that his young wife, Talia, comatose after a diving accident, is slowly dying in a nursing home near Cameo Lake. Grieving, guilt-stricken Ben, a former rock star, composes advertising jingles to pay for her care. Will Sean stop fooling around with his succulent secretary? Will Talia die and leave Ben free to love again? Will Cleo ever stop whining? At the close, she’s virtually swept away by Mahler’s Fifth and Ben’s deeply moving “new, never performed concerto.”

Predictable soap, laden with psychobabble and silly clichés about relationships.

Pub Date: July 1st, 2001
ISBN: 0-7434-1276-1
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Pocket
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2001


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