2017 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner in New Fiction
2017 Beverly Hills Book Award Winner in Women's Fiction
2018 IBPA Ben Franklin Finalist in Best New Voices: Fiction
Becca Meister Fitzpatrick—wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community—is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition . . . until she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg. As she struggles to accept that this is likely her last season in Long Harbor, Becca is inspired by her granddaughter’s boldness in the face of impending single-motherhood, and summons the courage to reveal a secret she was forced to bury long ago: the existence of a daughter she gave up fifty years ago. The question now is how her other daughter, Rachel—with whom Becca has always had a strained relationship—will react.
Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century-old history of Becca’s family—her parents’ beginnings and ascent into affluence, and her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named “Eden.”
In her uneven debut, Blasberg traces the women of one family across decades of summers spent in the family's ancestral house in Long Harbor, R.I. When financial hardship hits the Meister family, it appears they will have to sell their longtime summer home. But before it's sold, matriarch Becca decides to host a large party to commemorate the family's last season there. Told from various points of view and heavily dependent on flashbacks, the novel reaches back to the 1920s to tell the story of Becca's mother, Sadie, as well as digging into Becca's own youth when she made the heart-wrenching decision to give up her child. Although the multiple generations add depth to Blasberg's ruminations on motherhood, the narrative's many twists and turns are marred by awkward dialogue. The decision for Becca to reveal her secret child is inspired by her granddaughter, Sarah, who has an unplanned pregnancy and decides to keep the baby. Throughout the many flashbacks and long scenes of dialogue, the enchanting beach home called Eden keeps the novel centered. As the final party approaches, the dispute over the future of Eden becomes complicated by the secrets Becca has kept, resulting in an explosive get-together. Blasberg's novel is notable for its ambition, but it overreaches. Readers will be let down by a confusing plot, a cast of characters whose voices sound too similar, and a web of complicated relationships.
This Book is Epic!
Never before in my life have I been taken on a journey like this. Eden is exquisite and moving, relateable and ambitious. Blasberg's prose is simply marvelous and she was an all-time class act when I attended her reading in Harvard Square. Couldn't be more excited for her next book.