Thursday, May 26, 2016

Book Review and Giveaway - June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Book Synopsis
From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake made sixty years ago that threatens to change a modern family forever.

Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery’s vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?

Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal. As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.

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My Review

I finished reading June late at night, in a quiet house with the fan blowing, and the world (at least here) already feeling like summer.  The next day I told several friends that this is the book they need to read for summer.  It is just a perfect long, leisurely read. 

June checks off all the boxes for what I enjoy most in a novel.  It is a novel set both in the present day and in the 1950's.  This is a time period I too-rarely run into with historical fiction.    

The story is compelling.  I really liked the present day protagonist, Cassie, who is living in her grandmother's rambling old home after her beloved grandmother June, who raised her, has passed away.  She receives the unexpected news of a large inheritance from a 1950's movie idol named Jack Montgomery ... and of course, she wonders why she was chosen as the recipient of this inheritance, and begins to dig into history to learn more.

Her historical research brings her to the summer of 1955, when Jack Montgomery traveled to the small town in Ohio to film a movie called Erie Canal.   As Cassie learns more about that summer, she learns more about her grandmother as well.

The historical details of small town life in the 1950's are lovingly told and sure to please fans of historical fiction.

The house, Twin Oaks, is almost another character in this book.  I loved the glimpses into the past that it provides.

The characterizations in this book are wonderful.  There are some wonderfully likable characters, including Cassie, June, and June's best friend Lindie.  I really cared about these characters' lives.

I also loved the themes of this book - the past and how it informs the present, the importance of love, the way close friends can become like family.

June is my favorite read of the year, and I cannot recommend it highly enough.  It is a big leisurely family saga, and you will enjoy spending time in St. Jude, Ohio in the pages of this book.       

Author Bio
MIRANDA BEVERLY-WHITTEMORE is the author of three other novels: New York Times bestseller Bittersweet; Set Me Free, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, given annually for the best book of fiction by an American woman; and The Effects of Light. A recipient of the Crazyhorse Prize in Fiction, she lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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The lucky winner will receive a copy of June.  Open to U.S. and Canada.  Giveaway ends 6/2.  A winner will be drawn on 6/3 and notified via email.  Winner will need to respond within 48 hours.  The book will be mailed by the author or her publicist.

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I received a copy of this book from TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.