Rare Objects

Kathleen Tessaro. Harper, $25.99 (400p) ISBN 978-0-06-235754-0
Tessaro’s (The Perfume Collector) sixth novel navigates a complicated friendship between two damaged young women in 1932 Boston. After finishing secretarial school, Maeve Fanning moved to New York to seek her fortune—a venture that lasted less than a year and ended with a stay in a mental institution. Now she’s returned to her native Boston, and in order to put New York behind her, she decides to reinvent herself. She dyes her red hair blond, shortens her name to the less Irish-sounding May, and fibs her way into a job as a sales clerk at Winshaw and Kessler Antiques, where her penchant for embellishment proves to be an asset. May’s cover is nearly blown when young socialite Diana Van der Laar recognizes her from their shared time in the mental institution. Bound by this secret, May and Diana become fast friends, and May’s suddenly swept up in the wild social scene of Boston’s upper crust. An illicit affair with Diana’s dashing older brother complicates the friendship, as does Diana’s own secrets. To varying degrees of success, Tessaro overlays a historical setting and antiquated moral code onto some very modern-feeling situations. An intriguing correspondence between May and the shop’s mysterious absentee co-owner brings further entertainment and character insight, though it doesn’t fit seamlessly into the rest of the plot. Still, Tessaro’s complicated heroines—and the shattering reveal of secret after secret—will keep readers guessing until the final page. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM Partners. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 02/15/2016
Release date: 04/01/2016
Downloadable Audio - 978-0-06-239549-8
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