Author: Emily Chenoweth
Publisher: Harper Perennial (Harper Collins)
Pub. Date: May 5, 2009 (hardcover); June 14, 2011 (paperback)
Synopsis (from bn.com):
In the summer after her freshman year of college, Abby Hansen embarks on what might be a final vacation with her parents to a historic resort in northern New Hampshire. The Presidential Hotel, with its stately rooms and old-fashioned dress code, seems almost unbearably stuffy to Abby, but the young, free-spirited hotel staff offers her the chance for new friendships, and maybe even romance.
However, for her parents, Elliott and Helen, their time spent together in the shadow of the White Mountains has taken on a deeper meaning. By inviting family friends to join them, they open their marriage up to a lifetime of confessions, and they must confront a secret about Helen's health that they have been hiding from their daughter.
I had some trouble with this one. There were paragraphs upon paragraphs with beautifully written passages but, for me, the story and plot didn't balance out the writing. There was an inordinate amount of reflection which I supposed is fairly normal for this type of storyline, but it just seemed like so much to me. It made the reading very heavy. The author also seemed to fully stretch out every sentence with so many descriptors. One the one hand it was nice, but after a while it, too, became too much and brought me out of the story itself.
This story is based on the author's real life experiences, and she explains in the back why she didn't write this as a memoir. I wonder, though, if I would have related to it better if it were written in memoir form because I had a little difficulty maintaining interest in the fictional characters. I also think sections of it would have worked better as a short story.
All this being said, the writing itself was lyrical so those who enjoy that may like this book. Those who can relate to the situation or any of the characters will also likely enjoy this book more than I did. I also can't rule out the fact that I've been busy and had a lot going on, so it's possible that I wasn't drawn in as much as I might have been because of the lack of action.