During her husband’s 1966 congressional run, Christina “Tiny” Hardcastle realizes her picture-perfect life has more than a few cracks and that maybe the time has come to be true to herself rather than to the glossy facade she has created.
“The first photograph arrives in the mail on the same day that my husband appears on television at the Medal of Honor ceremony.” So begins Williams’ second novel about the Schuyler sisters, after The Secret Life of Violet Grant (2014). Tiny’s husband is Frank Hardcastle, running for Congress in Massachusetts, and he's attending the ceremony for his cousin, Maj. Caspian Harrison, an unexpected boon and photo-op for his campaign, while the rest of the family holes up in their Cape Cod compound. The Hardcastle family is old money, and Frank has been bred his whole life for this campaign. Tiny, the posh, polished, and always proper eldest Schuyler sister, is also from money and is the perfect wife for the perfect candidate. Except that two years into her marriage, she's questioning everything. Again. There seem to be a number of “tiny little things” the title refers to other than Tiny herself, including: the soul-changing events a few weeks before her wedding, when she first met Caspian; the miscarriage she suffers just days before the ceremony; Frank’s secretive behavior that leads Tiny to believe he’s having an affair; the scandalous pictures someone is blackmailing Tiny with; and the sudden and unexpected arrival of Tiny’s vibrant, alluring, and nearly-never-proper sister Pepper. Elegantly written, mainly from Caspian’s third-person 1964 perspective and Tiny’s first-person 1966 perspective, the book is strewn with unexpected heroes and villains and makes an exclusive, Kennedy-esque world accessible. The underlying message is that money can’t buy happiness, especially when you’re living in a skin that no longer fits.
A fascinating look at wealth, love, ambition, secrets, and what family members will and won’t do to protect each other.