Cape May: A Novel
When newlyweds Henry and Effie travel from George to Cape May for their September honeymoon, they failed to account for the off season and are surprised to find the beach town nearly deserted. Their cottage, which belongs to Effie’s uncle George, is modest, and Effie feels uneasy revisiting this quasi-familiar place from her past. They try to make the most of their vacation but ultimately decide to cut their honeymoon short. The night before they plan to leave, however, they see lights in a house across the street and meet Clara, a woman Effie remembers from childhood. She and Henry are both impressed by the party Clara and her friend Max throw that night, and the raucous evening changes their minds about leaving. Henry and Effie begin spending all their time with Clara, Max, and Max’s sister, Alma–discovering a side of Cape May where sexual mores are looser, gin flows all day long, and mistakes can throw an entire lifetime off course. Henry and Effie will never be the same.
The atmosphere Cheek builds in this novel lays the groundwork for the dread that builds relentlessly from the moment the newlyweds encounter Clara and Max. Empty houses, the violent surf, and the quiet town lend a deep uneasiness to these characters’ unstructured days, and the events that transpire are as unsurprising as they are sickening. In Henry and Effie, Cheek has created a portrait of innocence, but the villains, in the end, are not the debauched New Yorkers. The capacity to ruin what is good and true resides even in the purest souls. This sexy, captivating novel is a masterfully plotted and beautifully written marital and emotional trainwreck, in the best way.
|Page Count||256 pages|
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|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|