Susan Carol McCarthy's novel A Place We Knew Well takes readers back in time to October of 1962 as the Cuban Missile Crisis was unfolding.
Wes Avery is married, owns his own Texaco business, and is proud of his daughter, Charlotte, a beautiful teenager entering her senior year of high school He recognizes his good fortune in life, although he is aware that something seems amiss in his marriage as his wife struggles through each day, either uptight about upcoming social events she is helping to coordinate, or popping some pills to calm her down and make sleep possible.
In October of 1962, Wes Avery's problems seem almost trivial compared to the problems that are front and center on the world's stage. Fidel Castro has allowed nuclear missiles to reside in Cuba, aimed at the United States, an apparent attempt by the Soviet Union to challenge the United States and see if they will allow this to occur.
Although the Soviet Union's removal of these weapons is well known, McCarthy explores what it was like to live in Florida - so very close to Cuba- while these events were playing out.
In addition to recreating life in the 60's and allowing me to feel as though I were right in the Avery's Texaco station or at their home each day, she also developed an interesting family who was struggling through their own problems and challenges.
My mother and mother-in-law were juniors in high school in 1962 and I am anxious to pass this book on to them and hear how well McCarthy recreated a time they know personally.