Review: The Gin & Chowder Club

The Gin & Chowder Club

The Gin & Chowder Club
By Nan Rossiter
(Kensington Publishing Corporation, Paperback, 9780758246677, June 2011, 281pp.)

The Short of It:

Looking at this gorgeous cover you might dismiss it as pure chick-lit, but let me tell you… this one is different. With a male protagonist, a Cape Cod setting, and the tight bond between two families, this one is a winner.

The Rest of It:

The Coleman and Shepherd families have known each other for quite some time. Each year, they head to Cape Cod where they are neighbors for the summer. Samuel and Sarah Coleman have been busy raising their two sons, Asa and Issac, whereas Nate Shepherd has weathered some heartache with the loss of his first wife. However, his second marriage to a much younger woman has brought him happiness and the entire Coleman family is happy for them both. Their time together is spent enjoying gin and tonics and clam chowder and they all look forward to this special time together.

The story is set in th early 60′s and this particular summer happens to be the last summer before Asa goes off to college.  The Colemans worry whether their son is ready to embark on such an adventure, and admittedly, Asa has some doubts of his own, but he has no idea how complicated life really is until he finds himself drawn to Noelle, Nate’s younger wife.

At its heart, this is most certainly a love story, but it’s also a story of about trust, betrayal, friendship and the ability to forgive. Rossiter does an amazing job of describing the angst…the yearning and the horrible guilt that results from Asa and Noelle’s relationship. There is a taunting, teasing quality to it, but also a good dose of remorse. These are good people being tested. That’s how I felt while reading it.

There are other things that won me over. The decision to set the story in the early 60′s, was an excellent choice. It had a completely different feel because of it and gave the story the tenderness it required. Think about it, a story like this set in the present day would be filled with gadgets and cell phone conversations and texts between the two of them. The magic would have been lost. 

Additionally, there are references to two of my favorite books of all-time. To Kill a Mockingbird is often mentioned in books, so although I was pleased to see it here, I wasn’t surprised by it. However, I gasped out loud at the mention of A Separate Peace because it’s one of my faves and has been since I read it in college. I love it when an author can reference another book within her own story, and have it mean something.

I knew this book would be a pleasant read but I didn’t expect it to raise so many questions. This would be a wonderful book club book because there is just so much to consider. The reading guide that is included in my copy,  asks some really tough questions and the message from the author, which includes a story about a cardinal (poor bird!), will  prove to you that authors can find ideas just about anywhere.

You might buy the book for the cover but read it for the story.

Source: Sent to my by the author. Thanks Nan for signing my book!

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17 Responses

  1. Wow, that sounds like an amazing story. After your review, I want to know what happened to Asa!

  2. Oh, I definitely will be reading this one! The 60′s is one of my favorite era’s to read about and the story sounds much deeper than regular ‘chick lit’. I’m adding this one – oh, there goes my list!!!

  3. This sounds so good! Loved your review of it – made me want to read it even more!! Cheers, Ti!

  4. I’ve been waiting for you to review this one to make a final decision…I’m putting it on the list :) I like the idea that it’s complicated and not just the same old affair story between friend couples. Great review!

  5. This sounds like a fantastic book and one that is definitely going on my wish list. That cover is what first drew my attention – it is beautiful!

  6. From what you wrote, it does seem like the cover is terribly misleading. Sounds kind of good.

  7. A male protagonist? I wouldn’t have seen that coming! Sounds like a great book.

  8. Thanks, Ti, for writing such a glowing and thoughtful review! And thank you to everyone who has commented and expressed interest in reading it! You’ll be happy to hear that the male protagonist, Asa, will also be in the Christmas anthology, Making Spirits Bright, out this fall. Thanks again!

  9. I have the feeling this one will make the rounds of the book blogsphere very quickly…

  10. Your review totally sold me on this. But I am one of those would pick this up just because of the cover!! :D

  11. Have you read One Day? I don’t remember…. how would you compare these books? I ask because I seem to the be only person who didn’t like the book!

    Love the cover.

  12. Ti, This sounds like a great summer read, and well, the cover –wow!

  13. I haven’t heard of this book before Ti, your review and the cover sold me! I’ve added it to my wishlist, I love Cape Cod and the 60′s so this is perfect for me.

  14. [...] June, I reviewed another book by Nan Rossiter, The Gin and Chowder Club, and at the time, I was surprised that I enjoyed it as much as I did. It surprised me because it [...]

  15. [...] Scott Card 29. The Violets of March by Sarah Jio 30. In Stitches by Anthony Youn, M.D. 31. The Gin & Chowder Club by Nan Rossiter 32. The London Train by Tessa Hadley 33. The Thousand Autumns of Jacob De [...]

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