Peck acknowledges that many of the novel’s moments mimic her own life, such as summers spent on the Cape and her love of the cello. This memoir-style authenticity yields exceptionally original characters who entertain the reader with their complexity and humor, influence Lily’s choices, and set Peck’s novel above others. Vivid descriptions of Lily’s home and landscape stir yearning for a long-gone, untouched Cape Cod: “Seaweed, washed ashore by winter tides, bearded the beach.” Seemingly ordinary daily activities take on fresh interest with the backdrop of simmering family tension as the house construction progresses.
The gorgeous yet readable writing style situates the narrative squarely in the sophisticated up-market genre of literary fiction. Subtle irony infuses Lily’s point of view as she observes her feuding loved ones. Nuggets of wisdom bring the poetic style immediacy while still expressing a tween girl’s outlook: “I wondered why, when you hold your breath, your heart doesn’t stop beating.” Lily’s longing for her parents’ validation and her dawning maturity will warm hearts as much as the writing style will impress lovers of literary fiction.
Takeaway: Lush, memory-driven story of family life in mid-century Cape Cod.
Comparable Titles: Vendela Vida’s We Run the Tides, Mary Petiet’s Wash Ashore.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A