“The Children”

It was a second marriage for Whit Whitman and Joan Maynard.  Their first marriages, both ended unhappily, produced two children each: two boys for Whit–Spin and Perry– and two girls for Joan–Sally and Charlotte.  After their marriage, Whit, Joan and the girls resided at Lakeside Cottage in Connecticut.  Spin and Perry would visit often.  Whit didn’t work.  He followed his passion of learning to play the banjo and making excellent banjo instruments.  Joan was very athletic and ran and played tennis.  Although money was no problem, they lived frugally.

After Whit’s sudden death, Joan and the girls continued to live at Lakeside Cottage.  The boys, especially Spin, still visited.  Sally developed into an excellent musician.  She played the violin and composed music.  Charlotte rarely left the cottage.  None of her family knew that she authored a blog pretending to be the mother of two children.  She had hundreds of followers and was making a good deal of money because of her association with a diaper company.9781250045379_p0_v3_s118x184.jpg

Author Ann Leary has created an eccentric family which is torn apart because of conflicted loyalties and conflicts.  As the story unfolds, the family learns that Spin has met a woman that he plans to marry.  At first Laurel Atwood seems to be a charming, perfect match for Spin.  But soon, one by one, the characters, except Spin and Perry,  learn that Laurel is hiding behind a life and history that is a lie.  Little by little, she creates a rift between the Maynards and Spin which ends in tragic consequences.

Leary has created interesting, flawed characters.  From the beginning, the reader knows that somehow Laurel Atwood will be a threat to the family.  Discovering how she changes the dynamic of this family makes this a book that is hard to put down.

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