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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