In an idyllic small-town neighborhood, a near tragedy triggers a series of dark revelations.
From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house.
Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts - until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors' intertwined lives begins to unravel.
During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it's impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?
©2016 Marybeth Mayhew Whalen (P)2016 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
I couldn't finish this book. I wanted to like it but the narration was terrible. if there needs to be a southern accent, please use a narrator that actually has one! the narrator's fake southern accent was too distracting to the story. perhaps I'll try reading it instead.
"And yet, Jencey understood, there were the things she wished were true, and there was what was actually true. She was learning that there was usually a great distance between the two."
Sycamore Glen, North Carolina is a small town and as in every small town, everyone thinks they know everyone else’s business. The book opens as the citizens of the town are lined up outside the city pool waiting for the gate to open for the first swimming day of the year. The entrance is covered by a giant spider web, which is symbolic of the web of lies that are woven throughout the community. And just as the spider web is torn apart and swept away, by the end of the summer, every character’s secrets will be destroyed and exposed.
As this book is full of secrets, I am not going to touch on the plot much, so as to avoid spoilers. This book was enjoyable, but it was nothing spectacular. My main complaint was probably the names of the characters. They were just a little too “soap opera” for me: Jencey, Bryte, Zell, Cailey, Lane, etc. The fact that nearly every single person in the book had some “boutique” name made the whole book less believable in my opinion.
The other main complaint I had involved one of the subplots, involving a creepy old man who lived in the neighborhood. In the end, his role in the book was actually a pretty major thing, but this entire subplot was not given near the attention I think it should have been.
During this opening day at the pool, an accident happens that pulls all the main characters together. This was done much like an ensemble cast movie, such as Magnolia, Love, Actually, Crash, 21 Grams, or Playing by Heart, where multiple seemingly unconncected storylines converge. This is my favorite type of movie, and although I normally love books like this, too, this one just didn’t do it for me. Maybe the author tried too hard to pull it off, and made a few too many storylines to deal with, I’m just not sure.
I would recommend this to readers of chick-lit, and to those who love multiple storylines. In a review on Goodreads, a reviewer said this book reminded her of books written by Catherine Ryan Hyde, and I agree wholeheartedly, though I tend to think Hyde’s books are a little stronger than this novel.
⚔️ KNIVES’ RATING REPORT
As I agree this book reads like a Catherine Ryan Hyde book, here are a few of my favorites by her:
Pay it Forward
When I Found You
Take Me With You
Walk Me Home
engaging, interesting, good
Just learning the different little lies in everyday lives
Hit the dramatic and the quiet moments with the right emphasis
I'd recommend this book.
Great narrator, compelling storyline. I found myself growing attached to the characters pretty quickly. There were a lot of characters to keep track of, but they were each so distinct it really wasn't a problem. I'm drawn to southern fiction and this one did not disappoint. There was romance, drama and an element of suspense woven throughout the book. I enjoyed it very much!
I admit that I found the beginning slow, but after I heard the whole story, it was exactly what was necessary for this excellent and intriguing tale.
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