cover image The Children

The Children

Ann Leary. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (256p) ISBN 978-1-250-04537-9

In Leary’s portrait of a quirky old-money family, secrets come to light as the family members redefine their relationships after the death of their patriarch. Since the recent death of her stepfather, Charlotte Maynard hasn’t strayed far from home. She spends her days holed up in the attic of their sprawling Connecticut lake house, writing the fake “mommy blog” that represents her primary source of income and trying to avoid her self-aggrandizing cheapskate of a mother. Charlotte’s initially delighted when her stepbrother, Spin, brings Laurel, his fiancée, home to meet the family: she’s a gorgeous, witty, almost improbably accomplished young woman who’s not only crazy about Spin, but charmed by the whole clan. The only person who doesn’t adore Laurel on sight is Charlotte’s sister, Sally, a brilliant but emotionally fragile musician. Soon, the house isn’t the only thing crumbling around Charlotte: as Sally confronts pieces of her past, her grip on reality loosens; Charlotte’s on-again, off-again relationship with the family’s groundskeeper hits yet another snag; and worst of all, someone’s threatening to have Charlotte’s fake blog investigated for fraud. Although Leary (The Good House) ties up her loose ends a little too neatly, her characters are a delightful blend of strong personalities, all with their own little touch of delicious evil, and her darkly comic send-ups of New England wealth, nouveau riche, and Internet culture should keep readers absorbed until the final, most shocking secrets are revealed. (May)