Subtle is the word I think describes this novel. It begins slowly as Charlotte’s world is introduced to us. She has married Henry, some 20 years her senior, who treats her frankly, with disdain. He is seemingly unfeeling, intellectualizing everything and minimizing Charlotte’s work and intellect. She yearns for his approval and affection, but contents herself with the love she gets from her daughter, Fiona. On learning that Henry has inherited his family’s home in Wellfleet, on Cape Cod, Charlotte picks up her family and moves them to this new home. As they get to know the locals, who view them as intruders, she becomes embroiled in a controversy over property and loyalties and even finds love.
What I found strange about this book was that there was indeed a lot to the story on hindsight, but it did not feel that way while I was reading it. It progressed somewhat quietly, getting slightly mired in description, but definitely building in complexity. It definitely addressed issues of class, intellectual and socio-economic, and the insiders and the outsiders. It also addressed issues of ecology vs. industry and progress. There is also a love story here as well, that overrides the whole story.
It is not a “fun” read, but it is decent writing and a solid story in the end.