Reading group discussion guide available at Randomhouse.com
When Aaron Wheeler brings his beautiful, flirtatious girlfriend, Suzanne, home to meet his family, he's nervous but not unnaturally so. But then Suzanne meets his younger brother, Jack, and an attraction sparks between them. After a wild party, Suzanne and Jack end up alone together at a pond on the Wheelers' property. When Aaron finds the pair in a compromising position, his fury leads to a tragic accident. From this point the story jumps ahead 10 years, to when Aaron and Jack's younger sister, Lila, enters college. Still haunted by her memories and the aftermath of that fatal night, Lila sets out to find the truth, certain that something has been kept from her. Her dogged quest becomes her sole purpose, but as she searches for the truth she finds out as much about herself as she does about the night that changed her life. Hershon's first novel is an engrossing tale of love, redemption, and second chances.
From Publishers Weekly
Brother kills brother, and a younger sister makes their story her own in this lush but unsteady modern-day Cain and Abel tale by first-timer Hershon. On a beautiful summer weekend, Aaron Wheeler brings his college girlfriend, Suzanne, home to meet his family in New Hampshire. Golden boy Aaron is a few years older than his volatile, difficult brother, Jack; their little sister, Lila, is eight. The visit is pleasant if tense, as Suzanne finds herself drawn to Jack against her better judgment. Late one night after a party, Suzanne and Jack end up swimming alone together at the lake behind the house. As Jack makes it back to shore, naked, Aaron is waiting for him. Jack's death is made to look like an accident--it is said that he fell on the rocks--and Aaron disappears, dropping out of college. When Hershon picks up the narrative 10 years later, the story is resumed from Lila's point of view. Now living in New York City and teaching private English classes, she stumbles through her daily life, glimpsing Aaron or Jack in all the men she sees. A chance encounter with Suzanne focuses her determination to discover what really happened that night in New Hampshire and to find Aaron again. Hershon's carefully worked prose aspires to hothouse perfection, but overworked metaphors and forced turns of phrase undermine its effectiveness. At moments, the narrative invites readers to sink beneath its surface, but Hershon fails to sustain the dark, atmospheric morass she cultivates.