Baby of the Family

Maura Roosevelt. Dutton, $28 (464p) ISBN 978-1-5247-4317-8
Roosevelt’s solid debut dissects a privileged family wrestling with the ghost of an imperious patriarch and dwindling fortune. Opening in 2003, the saga revolves primarily around three children of Roger Whitby Jr. Adopted son Nick inherits the patriarch’s lucrative properties thanks to his manipulative mother and Whitby’s fourth wife, but prefers the life of a left-wing rebel; Brooke, a daughter from Whitby’s second marriage and a nurse in Boston, wrestles with her devotion to the woman she loves and the man she thinks she ought to marry and raise a child with; and free-spirited Shelley, daughter from a third marriage, moves to New York and develops a twisted relationship with a blind Egyptian architect, Kamal, after he hires her to help him write a book about urban American WASPs in the early 20th century. Nick moves in with Shelley, setting up a moment between the three siblings that’ll begin to undo the havoc Roger Whitby Jr.’s will—and abandonment—created in his children’s lives. Roger’s three children are not fully formed enough outside of his shadow, and consequently the narrative feels unbalanced on a character level. Roosevelt does a good job handling the twists and turns of an unraveling dynasty, making for a diverting yet frustrating novel. (Mar.)
Reviewed on : 01/17/2019
Release date: 03/05/2019
Genre: Fiction
Ebook - 978-1-5247-4318-5
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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