June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore: A Review
When Cassie moves into the aging Two Oaks mansion in St. Jude, Ohio that her grandmother left her, she begins to have dreams of old residents of the small town. Her grandmother, June, raised her after Cassie's parents died in a car accident but the two have not been close since Cassie used the accident as inspiration for her art. While Cassie is mourning her grandmother's passing, she is visited by Nick, who is hired by famous actress, Tate Montgomery, to inform her that Cassie was named as an heir to the Montgomery estate after the death of Tate's father Jack Montgomery. Jack Montgomery's will states that June and he had an affair while he filmed a movie, Erie Canal, in St. Jude and is, therefore, Cassie's grandfather. While Cassie, Tate and Nick try to weed through the history of the town during the making of Erie Canal and discover the true relationship between Jack and June, assisted (and hindered) by Tate's assistant, Hank, and sister, Elda, Cassie wonders whether or not she truly knew June.
This book moves a bit slower than I am accustomed to. The writing was fluid but it just wasn't as exciting as I was hoping that it would be. There were a few surprises in the book but the main shockers really weren't shockers for me. That is not to say that it was not enjoyable but just not as exciting as I was hoping for. The story was an interesting one and I do think that it is good for those who enjoy women's fiction or historical fiction.
The characters were not one dimensional but I can't say that they were complex, either, with the exception of Jack and June. Jack is tender with June but can also be very unkind to those who he feels stand in the way of what he wants. June is loyal, to a fault, but she also goes after what she wants, as well. The characters of Hank, Tate and Lindie are very stereotypical. Tate is seen as vapid, self-serving and fake. She needs an assistant just to tell her that being nice to others will help her image in their eyes. Hank is a pushover who aspires to make it in Hollywood. Lindie is a tomboy who is trying to discover herself. The authenticity is just not there for these characters. I would have liked to see something more real there.
Overall, I enjoyed reading the book but it is not one that was as thrilling as I was hoping it would be. Beverly-Whittemore does weave a thought-provoking story and I would be interested in discovering more by here.
If you have a book club or would like to explore the topics discussed in the book more after reading it, be sure to check out the reading group guide.
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