Here is a story of family loyalties and disloyalties, choices and compromises, destruction and survival. Olivia Okrent grew up spending her summers at her family's magnificent country estate. She and her cousins passed leisurely months in the magical rooms, unaware that dark secrets and haunting betrayals would one day be their legacy.
Now the cousins are scattered across the country with lives and families of tbeir own, getting together only for special occasions. But when lies and infidelities jeopardize her comfortable, Olivia is faced with a choice that may separate from her family, once and for all.
Once upon a time, Jaffe comfortably occupied a fictional territory pretty much all by herself: such bestselling fare as Class Reunion and The Last Chance sated readers' appetites for sexy domestic melodramas. But others moved onto this turf, many with franker and more graphic tales to tell. So now Jaffe may strike some as a trifle tamer, her small talk a little smaller. Her story of a wealthy department-store clan once held together by their summer manse but now scattered across the country seems almost familiar: nods of recognition may greet the Millers' criss-crossing encounters (at funerals, bar mitzvahs and the like), their grievances and their assorted peccadilloes. Twice-divorced cousin Olivia and her longtime companion Roger, veterinarians who share an N.Y.C. home, a practice and a comfy if unexciting life, anchor the proceedings; Roger strays and returns, Olivia does the same. But fictional familiarity can breed contentment, and though these cousins' distance from one another at times distances readers, too, the good news is that Jaffe has not lost her wit, her keen eye for human frailties and her ear for the small but telling remark. Though not bursting with excitement, Olivia and her relatives are an altogether agreeable lot. 60,000 first printing; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selection; author tour.
This is a fast and interesting read. It involves showing how family relationships influence a person's life and attitudes. People's lives are not what they seem even in fairly close family relationships.