From New York Times bestselling author Ann Leary comes the captivating story of a wealthy, but unconventional New England family, told from the perspective of a reclusive 29-year-old who has a secret (and famous) life on the Internet.
Charlotte Maynard rarely leaves her mother’s home, the sprawling Connecticut lake house that belonged to her late stepfather, Whit Whitman, and the generations of Whitmans before him. While Charlotte and her sister, Sally, grew up at “Lakeside,” their stepbrothers, Spin and Perry, were welcomed as weekend guests. Now the grown boys own the estate, which Joan occupies by their grace—and a provision in the family trust. When Spin, the youngest and favorite of all the children, brings his fiancé home for the summer, the entire family is intrigued. The beautiful and accomplished Laurel Atwood breathes new life into this often comically rarefied world. But as the wedding draws near, and flaws surface in the family’s polite veneer, an array of simmering resentments and unfortunate truths is exposed.
With remarkable wit and insight, Ann Leary pulls back the curtain on one blended family, as they are forced to grapple with the assets and liabilities – both material and psychological – left behind by their wonderfully flawed patriarch.
In Leary's portrait of a quirky old-money family, secrets come to light as the family members redefine their relationships after the death of their patriarch. Since the recent death of her stepfather, Charlotte Maynard hasn't strayed far from home. She spends her days holed up in the attic of their sprawling Connecticut lake house, writing the fake "mommy blog" that represents her primary source of income and trying to avoid her self-aggrandizing cheapskate of a mother. Charlotte's initially delighted when her stepbrother, Spin, brings Laurel, his fianc e, home to meet the family: she's a gorgeous, witty, almost improbably accomplished young woman who's not only crazy about Spin, but charmed by the whole clan. The only person who doesn't adore Laurel on sight is Charlotte's sister, Sally, a brilliant but emotionally fragile musician. Soon, the house isn't the only thing crumbling around Charlotte: as Sally confronts pieces of her past, her grip on reality loosens; Charlotte's on-again, off-again relationship with the family's groundskeeper hits yet another snag; and worst of all, someone's threatening to have Charlotte's fake blog investigated for fraud. Although Leary (The Good House) ties up her loose ends a little too neatly, her characters are a delightful blend of strong personalities, all with their own little touch of delicious evil, and her darkly comic send-ups of New England wealth, nouveau riche, and Internet culture should keep readers absorbed until the final, most shocking secrets are revealed.
Wonderfully written about the dynamics of a family w/step siblings that will blow your mind!
I recommend this book for blended family’s and the dysfunction that can occur when jealousy and misunderstandings are bound to happen.
While it certainly isn’t anything that will help heal the issues of any blended family, it most definitely is more of a cautionary tale of WHAT NOT to do, how to behave and the severely grave risks that can happen in the midsts of denial, dismissive and pure destruction.
This an EXTREME example of dysfunction.
I will say I was disappointed by so many of the unanswered questions especially those of which I felt were the root of many of their issues and definitively the cause of them. The ending also seemed to be cut short without any real closures for the characters as well myself the reader
I found myself getting very much involved with these quirky characters! The book was touching and humorous at the same time. I was looking for something a little different to read, and “The Children” was a great pick. Highly recommend 👍
I loved this book. She has a wonderful voice. So authentic and slyly funny. She's a more modern up to date Ann Tyler. I just bought all of her other books. Ms Leary is my new obsession !