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SUMMARY: In this sophisticated thriller, 15-year-old Evie grows up quickly when she discovers her adored parents are not the people she thought they were. While on vacation in Palm Beach in 1947, Evie’s parents, Joe and Bev, get involved in a shady business deal with the Graysons, another couple on holiday. Meanwhile, Evie begins a flirtation with Peter, a handsome ex-GI who served with Joe and just happens to be staying at their hotel. Evie soon learns that Peter’s presence is no coincidence and that he threatens to uncover a terrible secret that Joe has kept since the war. When Bev, Joe, and Peter go boating, only two of them return, and Evie must sort through secrets, lies, and her own grief to find the truth. (from the Booklist review)OPINION: What I first loved about this book was that I could see a glamorous black-and-white movie playing in my head while I read it. The atmospheric language and descriptions perfectly capture the time period, and the mystery has the feel of film noir. This book defies categorization as simply historical fiction or mystery. The plot drew me in, as it became apparent that all was not as it seemed. This book has surprising depths, and an even more surprising ending. Evie's testimony in the inquest after the boating incident was shocking, but her attitute toward her life afterwards is even more revealing. This is a completely worthwhile read for anyone who has ever loved and lost.
INTERESTING FACT: Judy Blundell has written over 100 series books and movie tie-ins under pseudonyms, but this is the first book she ever published under her own name. None of her previous work could be considered great literature, yet this book won the National Book Award! Read more about her story in this interview.