Leaving Bayberry House

Ann L. McLaughlin, Author . John Daniel $14.95 (204p) ISBN 978-1-56474-495-1

Two sisters revisit wartime tragedy while closing the family's summer house in McLaughlin's inert sixth novel (after Maiden Voyage ). Set in 1973, the novel drags along over the course of one August week as the Carlson sisters, now in their mid-40s, pack up the family house in preparation for its sale. Angie, a potter and mother of two living in Ann Arbor, Mich., has not visited the house in the 28 years since discovering their minister father, depressed by events of WWII, hanging dead in the basement. Her older sister, Liz, a Farsi translator for the State Department, is on her second rocky marriage, living in New York, and worried that asking Angie to help with the house might trigger another mental breakdown. Gradually, the two open up, assisted and hindered by the visit of their sharp-tongued aunt and the surprise arrival of Angie's 18-year-old daughter and her hippie friends. McLaughlin injects some texture with WWII-era flashbacks, but the long-winded, dawdling narrative has little to recommend it. (May)

Reviewed on: 03/08/2010
Release date: 05/01/2010
Genre: Fiction
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