on January 1st 1970
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here are family secrets and then there are family secrets….
Megan Ashley has grown up living a very privileged life. Her Mother is a best selling “Horror” writer – think the female version of Stephen King. There is a lot of angst in their relationship. In public, her Mother, the famous Frances Ashley, is loving and present. They appear to be a happy Mother-Daughter duo. In Private, there is a cold distance, manipulation, secrets, and isolation. Meg is not happy that she was constantly shipped away to boarding schools while her Mother lived in the limelight of her own success.
Success that Frances Ashley found after writing the Novel “Kitten” at the age of 19. A novel that has a cult like following. A novel which tells the story of the murder of a young girl, which happened years ago on Bonny Island, Georgia.
Meg wants to start a new life and be independent from her famous Mother. The two women have not spoken in three years. Then one day, Meg receives an invitation to attend her Mother’s Birthday party which is quickly followed by tragic news. Meg, sad and alone, is approached to write a tell all book about her Mother and the story behind her world famous book “Kitten”.
Meg goes to Bonny Island and soon meets the real life woman, Dorothy, who everyone believes is the inspiration behind the book “Kitten”. She and Dorothy form a kinship and Meg feels like she is at home. She enjoys the people working at the once popular hotel. She begins to ask questions and delve into the murder of the young Native American girl. There are several suspects but who carried out the heinous crime? I like that we are faced with several suspects and theories as to who killed the girl. Will Meg ever get the answers she is looking for? As Meg gets closer to the truth, it appears that not everyone is as they seem. Almost everyone that Meg comes into contact with has his/her own secrets and agendas. Secrets they are willing to do anything to keep. Who can be trusted when the proverbial shit hits the fan?
I enjoyed the novel within a novel in this book. It is not a unique idea but it worked to tell some back story. This book is full of lies, plot twists, secrets, family secrets, long buried anger, suspicion and doubt. Meg is a great and likable character. She is strong yet also flawed and with a much understood chip on her shoulder. All she ever wanted was a Mom but what she got was a celebrity in love with her own fame.
This book is very atmospheric and the island itself feels like a character in this book. There is a plot twist I did not see coming – which I love. The ending had everything tied up nicely. Some may argue a little too nicely but it worked for me. I found this to be a solid mystery/thriller with a little romance thrown in.
I received a copy of this book from the Lake Union Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.