THE COLOR OF WATER IN JULY by Nora Carroll

Color of WaterA pleasant story about a young woman who inherits a ‘cottage’ on the shore of a summer lakeside colony in Michigan.  And by ‘cottage’ I mean one of those huge rambling places the Victorians built.  But being in Michigan, it of course didn’t have the cachet of one built in Nantucket or Cape Cod  or thereabouts.

Jess, the young woman, has a famous journalist photographer mother who doesn’t do much mothering, and left all that to her own mother, Mamie, a proper always-a-lady woman, whose sister Lila drowned in the lake the summer she was 18 or so.  Mamie  and her true love Thomas eloped, and had a baby — Jess’s mother.   Thomas left Mamie to raise the baby on her own.  She then inherited her father’s very substantial estate when her mother died about five years later,  and she then proceeded to live in accordance ‘to her station.’    I don’t think people even talk like that anymore, but this was back in the days between the two great wars.

Jess and her ambitious publisher boyfriend go to settle the estate and sell the house.  First time back there for Jess in 17 years.  She figures a fast in and out, wind it up, get back to the East Coast.  But being there dredges up a lot of memories of her childhood and her first love.   And we are introduce to the Grandmother and the 17-year-old Jess in alternating chapters that jump around in time periods.  I guess it worked out all right, but sometimes I like my narrative in a straight line, but I suppose that since this way,  as we learn the secrets piecemeal, it wouldn’t have made such an interesting story in a straight line.

But it is the story of the mores of an era, the stupid things people do for the damnedest reasons,and less than stellar motives.   Chick lit, if you well, but nicely done.  Not a romance, not a tear-jearker, just a good all around story.  I like books like these.

 

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