March 3, 2014
The theme of paradise lost courses through this coming-of-age tale tinged with mystery—Beverly-Whittemore’s solid, if not particularly inspired, third novel, after 2007’s Set Me Free. Self-conscious college scholarship student Mabel Dagmar feels as if she has won the golden ticket when her freshman roommate, Genevra “Ev” Winslow, an impossibly glamorous scion of the gilded Winslow clan, invites her to spend the summer at Winloch, the family’s sprawling estate in Vermont on Lake Champlain. But she soon starts to discover how wrong she is, as with so very much about the Winslows. For all their lean, blond beauty and their designer names, the Winslows—including Birch and Tilde, Ev’s parents; and Ev’s brother Galway, whose attentions encourage Mabel to fantasize about becoming part of the blue-blooded tribe—have more squalid secrets than her own, with theft, rape, and incest the tip of the viceberg. As the increasingly tragic story unfolds, the taste left in the reader’s mouth is more likely to be sour than bittersweet. Agent: Anne Hawkins, John Hawkins & Associates.