Monday, May 9, 2016

I Like Big Books: Three Martini Lunch and June

Recently I had two rather large books come my way to review.  Both were more than 400 pages, so unlike most books I can breeze through in little more than a day, I had to invest a bit more time in my reading.  Both were worth it.

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore fits into what I would consider literary fiction, not a fast-paced novel full of action, but one that focuses more on character development, with a bit of suspense thrown in.  

Cassie is hiding out in the crumbling mansion her grandmother left to her.  She is enjoying her time alone, aware of the fact that she has little money but not yet willing to have to face reality.  

When she is visited by the personal assistant of the daughter of movie legend Jack Montgomery and told she is the heir to his fortune, Cassie is forced to become involved in life once more.

Tate wants a DNA test to prove Cassie's parentage before she is willing to lose out on her inheritance, something Cassie doesn't easily or quickly give in to. While she debate whether or not she will allow a DNA test to occur, Nick, Tate's older sister, Elda, and Hank another of Tate's entourage all move in with Cassie.

The time shifts from 2015 to the 1950s where readers get to know June, Cassie's grandmother, as a young girl, and discover for themselves what really happened the summer that Jack Montgomery and Hollywood came to town.

There are secrets that are discovered throughout the novel which adds to the suspense of Cassie's parentage and what really happened so long ago when June was a teenager. 

Beverly-Whittemore's novel is worth an afternoon (or two) in your lawn chair, or curled up on the couch enjoying the story.

Three Martini Lunch by Suzanne Rindell left me with a book hangover that I'm finding it hard to recover from.

Set in the late 1950s, this novel explores the lives of three different characters: Eden, Cliff and Miles.

Eden wants a career in publishing, but is finding it difficult to be a career woman when the expectations of the era include marriage and children.  

Cliff is trying to write the great American novel without much (any) success.  He is finding it hard to live up to his family's name, as his dad is a bigwig at a publishing company.

Miles is an educating black man who has managed to attend private schools and college, but now is looking to understand his dead father a bit more. His quest for learning about his dad sends him on a trip to recover a box that may contain some answers he has about his dad.

These three people's lives all intersect.  Eden and Cliff get married, yet manage to keep it a secret because Eden is Jewish, but more importantly, because she happens to be Cliff's father's secretary.  Miles is an acquaintance that eventually becomes an important to Cliff and his career as a writer.

I wasn't initially in love with Three Martini Lunch, but by the end I was finding it impossible to put down. I stayed up late one night and then set my alarm for early the next morning to read the last pages.  

The story of these three friends captures this time period perfectly.  I felt like I was plunked right down in a Mad Men era city, full of the descriptions of the late 1950s.  

There was plenty of suspense as I wanted to find out how these lives connected, and the secrets that had been kept. 

This is definitely a beach worthy book, and I'm still thinking about these characters even now, weeks later.  

No comments: