The Last Summer of the Camperdowns by Elizabeth Kelly


LOVED this book!

Riddle, a woman shunned by a man from her past during a momentary encounter, looks back on the summer that changed her (and his) life forever.  At the age of 12, Riddle was an accidental witness to a crime, but was quietly terrorized into remaining silent about what she heard and saw.  As her fretting over her own silence mounted, so did the confusion and mystery around the crime, and the circle of guilt enlarged like the rippling of water from a stone.  Riddle saw her own family become entangled in the mystery, and she saw first hand, how keeping secrets can haunt you and endanger you in the end.

What shines in this book is the writing – it is absolutely resplendent, with richly painted imagery and razor-sharp dialogue.  The banter between Riddle’s father, a war-veteran and politician running for office, and her mother, an actress who’s taken a break from acting but not from being glamorous and cynical, is full of jabs at each other that are biting and callous and occasionally laugh-out-loud hilarious.   The setting is also near and dear to my heart – it takes place in Wellfleet, on Cape Cod, on a beautiful estate overlooking the Atlantic.  The characters are rich – figuratively and literally – and are adored and detested as the rich often are, and there is frequent commentary on both the power and the vulnerability of money.  There is also the component of the coming of age of Riddle, who is thrust into the lives of adults as she turns only 13, and her character is extremely sympathetic.

From glamor and romance to suspense and thrill – and especially fantastic literary sheen — this book has it all!  Highly recommended for that Cape Cod vacation – and any other time as well.

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