In the summer of 1938, Layla Beck’s father, a United States senator, cuts off her allowance and demands that she find employment on the Federal Writers’ Project, a New Deal jobs program. Within days, Layla finds herself far from her accustomed social whirl, assigned to cover the history of the remote mill town of Macedonia, West Virginia, and destined, in her opinion, to go completely mad with boredom. But once she secures a room in the home of the unconventional Romeyn family, she is drawn into their complex world and soon discovers that the truth of the town is entangled in the thorny past of the Romeyn dynasty.
At the Romeyn house, twelve-year-old Willa is desperate to learn everything in her quest to acquire her favorite virtues of ferocity and devotion—a search that leads her into a thicket of mysteries, including the questionable business that occupies her charismatic father and the reason her adored aunt Jottie remains unmarried. Layla’s arrival strikes a match to the family veneer, bringing to light buried secrets that will tell a new tale about the Romeyns. As Willa peels back the layers of her family’s past, and Layla delves deeper into town legend, everyone involved is transformed—and their personal histories completely rewritten.
I received this ebook from NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.
Where to start……I was so excited to read this book. I loved the synopsis and couldn’t wait to be approved. Well that feeling was short-lived. I spent the entire time reading the book waiting for something to happen that eventually did in the last few pages of the book but I won’t lie, it was a letdown at that point.
It started off well enough with the strong and determined mind of a young girl on the verge of womanhood and I couldn’t wait. Willa was probably the best character throughout the book and I was pleased to read from her point of view more often than not. She shows you the world in the simple ways we can all remember from our own youth. She hasn’t had opinions and ideals enforced on her yet but society. She has grown up in the shelter of her aunts have provided all the while not really knowing the shame and scandal that surround her family. She enjoys the hot and humid summers running around town with her sister and local children but she yearns to join the adult world.
Jottie is Willa’s aunt and to me the constant victim throughout the book. She fell in love with a boy at tender age and due to tragic circumstances that even she isn’t fully aware of she became the martyr of her family. Don’t be fooled though, she is comfortable in the role of victim and de facto mom to Willa and her sister Bird. She believes that if it wasn’t for Willa’s father, Felix, she wouldn’t have ever recovered from the tragedy she suffered and has given her life to him as payment.
Felix comes across for in as a dead-beat dad and womanizer. He doesn’t respect his family, himself or the boarder, Layla Beck, who has come to town to write the history of Macedonia. He’s a playboy turned bootlegger who thinks the world owes him something. He depends on his sister to raise his children so he can come and go as he pleases without a care in the world.
Layla Beck is a poor rich girl with a Daddy who is a US Senator that has cut her off for refusing to marry a man he choose. He decides the best thing for her would be to live on relief and work for her uncle writing the history of Macedonia. Your first impression of her is a dimwit how could be smart if she would just use the brain god gave her instead of being the social butterfly society expects her to be. From almost the beginning she is sucked in by Felix and thinks herself in love with him despite warning from Jottie telling her to protect herself and her heart. It is only toward the end of the book that this butterfly emerges from her cocoon and becomes someone worthwhile. It was frustrating to see her within reach of her own potential only to ignore it for affection from a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
Less than half way through the book I just wanted it to be over. I kept reading so I could form a true opinion and sadly that opinion never changed. I guess I’m just someone that needs to action/drama in a book. I would have really liked the book to delve into Jottie’s story more instead of wrapping it up in one scene at the end.
Each character had so much potential but never really hit their stride. This might be one of my shortest reviews because I don’t want to go on and on about why I was so disappointed. I can’t say what others will feel when they read this book, I’ve read reviews from others who legitimately enjoyed the book but sadly I was not one of those people.