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.
Title: June: A Novel
Author: Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Genre: Literature & Fiction | Mystery, Suspense, Thriller | Coming of Age
Publisher: Crown Publishers
Published: May 31, 2016
Format: Hardcover, 400 pages
FTC Disclaimer: I received an ARC from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review. Opinions expressed are mine.
When I read Bittersweet by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, I could not see how she could surpass the quality of her writing and storytelling (my review here).
I now know, and the answer rested in reading Beverly-Whittemore’s newest novel, June. Based in two timelines and in a small town in Ohio, we are treated to an atmospheric tale of a house capable creating dreams in its occupants, namely Cassandra aka Cassie, our main, current-day character.
The dual plot and storyline are typical of the Hollywood glamour days of the 1950s: handsome young leading men, glamorous yet often selfish young leading ladies, romantic dalliances with Hollywood types as well as local types, and a good deal of partying. As the plot and storyline switch between the 1950s and today, readers are provided hints about what went on in St. Jude, Ohio, during the filming of a movie in this midwestern town.
Once more, Beverly-Whittemore paints with a fine brush the scenes created to transport readers back to the 1950s and swiftly and seamlessly back to today. As well, she develops characters meaningful to place and time, while providing each one with his/her own unique personality and depth or, in some instances, lack thereof.
From the moment I read the first page, I knew I wouldn’t be able to put June aside for very long at a time. The mystery and suspense of all that transpired between the two time periods kept a reader’s attention actively engaged and thoughtful. In fact, once I reached the end of the last page I was sad to give up my newfound friends from St. Jude, Ohio.
Beverly-Whittemore has proven, to me at least, she has what it takes to move from a premise like the one in Bittersweet to an entirely different type of novel as found in June. This is not always possible for writers, and I believe this talent speaks to an inherent gift of writing Miranda Beverly-Whittemore possesses.
Fans of moviedom, glamour, and stories of passionate leading men and sometimes leading women will fall in love with June. If suspense, mystery, and the atmospheric senses floating through an old house are your cup of tea, once again June will be an enjoyable read for you.
June definitely qualifies as a great summer read so don’t let the summer of 2016 pass you by without picking up a copy to read.
I love to meet with book clubs, either in person in the New York area, or via phone or Skype. Please email me: email@example.com
I write novels. My fourth, JUNE, will be out from Crown Publishing on May 31, 2016.
My third novel, New York Times bestseller BITTERSWEET (Crown Publishing, May 2014), is set at the home on Lake Champlain where I spent my summers as a little girl. But that’s where the resemblance to life ends—the place, renamed Winloch in the book—is inhabited by a family of bad people. I wrote Bittersweet for people like me, who love The Secret History and The Emperor’s Children; it’s a literary beach read.
My first two novels- THE EFFECTS OF LIGHT and SET ME FREE- were published in 2005 and 2007.
Based in some part on my own experience being photographed by two fine arts photographers, Jock Sturges and Mona Kuhn, I started my first novel, The Effects of Light, to answer the question most Americans seemed to ask when I explained this photographic work to them—would I still love it if an innocent died because that work had been made? My second novel, Set Me Free, was based in part on the time I spent on the Crow reservation in high school, the legacy of my countercultural parents, and the complications of their generation of liberal do-gooders. The book was also an homage to my theater school-aged days and based on The Tempest.