Graver, Elizabeth (Author)
Mar 2013. 352 p. Harper, hardcover, $24.99. (9780062184849).
For generations, the wealthy Porter family has sought refuge in its vacation home at Ashaunt Point along Massachusetts’ rocky coastline. It’s a place where Helen and her siblings can run wild and free under the watchful eye of Bea and her fellow coterie of Scottish caregivers. All is well until WWII erupts and an outpost is installed nearby. Soldiers lure Helen to dances, seduce Bea into a hasty romance, and rob Helen’s sister Jane of her innocence. Then word comes that her brother has been killed in action, and the world can no longer be held at bay. When Helen returns decades later as a young wife and mother, she tries to re-create Ashaunt’s former simplicity for her emotionally fragile son, but the Vietnam war and the counterculture take their toll. At the end of her life, as cancer ravages her body, Helen finds Ashaunt equally threatened by environmental disasters and encroaching development, and the outrage becomes too to bear. With a style and voice reminiscent of William Trevor and Graham Swift, Graver’s powerfully evocative portrait of a family strained by events both large and small celebrates the indelible influence certain places can exert over the people who love them.
— Carol Haggas, Booklist, starred review