I received an advanced review copy of this title from the publisher, William Morrow.
What drew me to this book was the time period in which it is set, between the Great Wars in the Roaring Twenties when Prohibition is firmly entrenched and wealthy families vacation at their summer “cottages” in Newport. Most of the drama takes place at the Chapman family’s sprawling estate in Newport and at the very core of this drama is a contested will. Bennett Chapman is in his eighties but he is about to remarry a woman forty years his junior and change his will to make her the primary heir of his textile fortune.
Bennett’s two children, Nick and Chloe, stand to be mostly cut out of their father’s will if he manages to draft a new one. Nick and Chloe think that their father is completely out of his mind and try to convince Bennett’s lawyers, Adrian and Jim, that Bennett is not mentally capable of making such a decision. Nick and Chloe’s main evidence for their father’s mental instability is the fact that he has been having séances in which his first wife, dead for over thirty years, is the one who is telling him to remarry and change his will. Are these séances a farce and an attempt to cheat Bennett out of his inheritance or are they legitimate messages from his wife from beyond?
The plot twist at the end was interesting and the descriptions of Newport in the twenties are the strongest aspects of this book. The part of the story I had trouble with are the séances and the talking to dead people beyond the grave. The author used this supernatural aspect to advance the plot which made the whole thing seem silly to me. But that is just my particular preference for stories that do not involve the supernatural. The historical setting, the bad behavior of spoiled, rich families and the contested will, in my opinion, could have all stood on their own to make an interesting story without inserting the ghost of a dead wife.
I would love to hear other reader’s opinion about this if you have read the book. Are there certain additions or twists added to a novel that either distract you or cause you to give it a lower rating?
About The Author:
Jill Morrow has enjoyed a wide spectrum of careers, from practicing law to singing with local bands. She holds a bachelor’s degree in history from Towson University and a JD from the University of Baltimore School of Law. She lives in Baltimore.