Growing up in her sleepy Cornish village dreaming of being a writer, sixteen-year-old Lou has always wondered about the grand Cardew house which has stood empty for years. And when the owners arrive for the summer - a handsome, dashing brother and sister - Lou is quite swept off her feet and into a world of moonlit cocktail parties and glamour beyond her wildest dreams. But, as she grows closer to the Cardews, is she abandoning her own ambitions... and is there something darker lurking at the heart of the Cardew family? A gorgeously dreamy coming-of-age romance set against a stunning Gatsby-esque backdrop, this is perfect for fans of 'I Capture the Castle' and Eva Ibbotson.
A predictable plot and one-dimensional characters flatten much of the fizz from this romance set in England at the tail end of the 1920s. After her beloved older sister marries, aspiring writer Lou pines for something new and different. She gets her wish when glamorous Robert Cardew and his sister Caitlin return to their family seat, a long-abandoned manor on an island across from Lou's village in Cornwall. Lou soon becomes part of the siblings' social circle, staying at Cardew House, attending seemingly endless wild parties, receiving lavish gifts from Caitlin, and indulging in banter and myriad misunderstandings with Robert. From time to time, Lou returns home to visit with her family, a diligently quirky bunch in the style of I Capture the Castle. The members of Robert and Caitlin's crowd of bright young things are differentiated with one-note attributes and a heavy dose of flamboyant gushing ("It was those green cocktails, deadly things, had me throwing caution to the wind!"). Still, the Cornish setting and Great Gatsby style trappings have their charm, and Lou's chatty narration keeps things moving quickly. Ages 12 up.