The Miltons are a powerful old New York family – the kind of family that used to run the world. And in 1935, they still do.
Kitty and Ogden Milton seem to have it all: an elegant apartment on the Upper East Side, two beautiful little boys, a love everyone envies. When a tragedy befalls them, Ogden comforts Kitty the only way he knows how – they go sailing, picnic on a small island off the coast of Maine, and buy it.
For generations the Miltons of Crockett Island revel in a place that is entirely their own. But it’s 1959, and the world is changing: Ogden’s firm hire a Jewish man, Len Levy, who earns the admiration of not only his boss, but his boss’s beautiful young daughter. When Len and his friend visit the island, the Milton’s principles and prejudices are challenged like never before.
At the dawn of the 21st century, the family money has run dry, and the island is up for sale.
Returning for one last visit, Kitty’s granddaughter uncovers disturbing evidence about her family’s wealth – and realizes she is on the verge of finally understanding the silences that seemed to hover just below the surface of her family all her life.
More A Social Commentary
There is a LOT of reading in this one, and with very little dialogue it is a long, solid read.
The Milton family are a bit of a dynasty in New York; the ‘young’ Miltons, Ogden and Kitty are a bit of a golden couple. With a secure place in society, three wonderful children – cared for by their nanny – and Ogden’s business flourishing, their future seems certain, until tragedy strikes . . .
This part of the novel was my favourite! I really enjoyed the characters, the period details and everything about them. Then the timeline started moving, focusing on different generations and the story moved backwards and forwards without warning. Even a date at the beginning of each chapter would have made it easier. Working out where we were in the family tree grabbed my attention, taking it away from the story and, to be completely honest, I struggled through the pages. I did learn details I was unaware of historically and those I really enjoyed. This is very much a social commentary-cum-family saga and I just wished it would make up it’s mind which. It didn’t set my world on fire – it was a family history with a few high points and a lot of low points along the way. I’m happy to give it three stars.
My thanks to publisher Penguin for my copy via NetGalley. This is my honest, original and unbiased review.
Tags: family saga, women’s fiction
- Format: ebook, paperback, hardcover, audio
- Size: 495 pages
- Publisher: Penguin
- Publication Date: 30 January 2020
- Links: Goodreads
- Google Play
- Barnes & Noble
- W. H. Smith
Sarah Blake is the author of Full Turn, a chapbook of poems, Runaway Girls, an artist book in collaboration with the artist, Robin Kahn, and three novels: Grange House; and the New York Times Bestsellers, The Postmistress, and The Guest Book. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, the poet Joshua Weiner, and their two sons.