From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake made sixty years ago that threatens to change a modern family forever.
Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery's vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?
Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal. As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.
Praise for June
“Intrigue? Yes, please. Scandals and surprise inheritances? All the yesses! . . . Savor every page of this twisty novel.”—Cosmopolitan
“An enthralling story of Hollywood glamour, first love and shifting loyalties . . . June invites readers to sink into its narrative the way Cassie sinks into the embrace of Two Oaks: with a thirst for a good story and a tall glass of lemonade.”—Shelf Awareness
“[It's] the perfect kind of literary love story, a thrilling Hollywood plot of murder and blackmail commingled with the steady, capacious Midwest. Best read with a glass of cold lemonade.”—Andrew Unger (BookCourt), New York Post
“From Castle Otranto to Wuthering Heights, houses have inhabited our fictions for centuries, shaping the narrative and characters. In Miranda Beverly-Whittemore’s absorbing Gothic mystery, June, Two Oaks, a mansion in rural Ohio, influences the dreams and desires of the two generations of unyielding women. . . . [A] bittersweet love story hidden beneath blackmail and murder.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune
Beverly-Whittemore (Bittersweet) offers up two interconnected tales of family secrets, 60 summers apart. The present-day tale centers on 25-year-old Cassie, holed up in St. Jude, Ohio, in the crumbling manse called Two Oaks. The house was willed to her by her recently deceased grandmother June, who raised her. Mourning not only June's death but also the recent deterioration of their relationship, Cassie is befuddled to discover that she may be a bona fide heiress, as Hollywood legend Jack Montgomery has left her his entire fortune. The assumption is that Cassie's father was the product of a whirlwind affair between Jack and June, back when St. Jude was the setting for a film back in 1955. Yet Cassie, in a decision that seems included primarily to drive the plot, refuses to agree to a DNA test, forcing Montgomery's equally famous daughter to schlep out to St. Jude herself. Their present-day detective work is interspersed with scenes from the filming of that 1955 film, conveyed largely from the point of view of June's young companion Lindie, who secretly harbors romantic feelings for her friend. Although some fantastical elements don't quite work (Two Oaks is sentient, and it shapes the behavior of its inhabitants), the dual narratives are enjoyable both singly and in tandem as the novel explores the changing possibilities for women, the evolution of the Hollywood fame machine, and love's potential for genuine human transformation.