It’s not only people that can populate stories; places can, too. But only when characters move in, do they start to come alive. An empty house, a huge gift, and an untethered soul all come together under the deft, controlled, evocative and moving touch of New York Times bestselling novelist, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, in June. Like last summer’s huge hit, Bittersweet, June is a story of a young woman’s coming of age in unfamiliar territory, under uncertain and unforgiving circumstances.
When Cassie Danvers inherits Twin Oaks, the sprawling, storied home that dominates the small Ohio town of St. Jude, the first voice the reader hears is that of the house, itself. It dreams. It yearns. It remembers, and it demands. But rather than a ghostly haunting, Twin Oaks carries the echoes of passion and lust, loyalty and betrayal, true friendship and love—the multifaceted spirits of the families that lived under its once grand, but now leaking, roof.
Cassie is faced with a huge responsibility in the form of the house, but that, she learns, is just the beginning of the story. A deus ex machina arrives in the form of a knock on the door announcing a handsome stranger bearing news. That sets off a complex series of events that weave between the present-day and a summer six decades ago when another handsome stranger, a famous movie star, came to town. The novel moves seamlessly between two stories, each of which draws the reader into a complex web of jealousy and greed, secrets and whispers, lies and loves, blackmail and murder. Beverly-Whittemore is masterful in slowly unveiling secrets, and only as the novel unfolds do we come to see how the two worlds are really the early and final chapters of the title character, June.
Besides the old house, Beverly-Whittemore fills her pages with a cast of vibrant characters who do unexpected, imperfect, and wholly believable, human things. Lindie, through whose eyes we see much of the action, is so compellingly drawn that she seems to jump off the page, aching for adventures her small life in a small town can hardly provide. Until, that is, big Hollywood directors, producers and movie stars show up. Beverly-Whittemore keeps uncovering twists and surprises right up till the final pages.
Partly autobiographical, June was inspired by the author’s own grandmother, her sleepy hometown in Ohio and a grand old house filled with characters and stories. Beverly-Whittemore spins a gossamer web of glamour and decay, suspense and intrigue around the homestead’s sturdy old bones. A big, sprawling tale filled with emotions and revelations, June will have you smiling as the pages whiz by and satisfied at the end, but with a hunger for Beverly-Whittemore’s next book.