Book Review: The Guest Book @flatironbooks #ReadTheGuestBook #TheGuestBook #SarahBlake

Thank you to Flat Iron Books for the advance copy of The Guest Book by Sarah Blake.  I know guys, this was released on May 7, 2019 and here we are in June…I promise you I read it myself before the release date…my little fingers just could not connect to the keyboard fast enough!

This is a work of historical fiction.  Not my usual genre; however, I happen to occasionally enjoy mixing things up.  This books takes us between the 1930s-1950s and present day.  This novel tackles racism and the power that families have held in the US for generations.

The family owns an island.  The money has run out.  The granddaughter does not want to give the island up because of the family history it has to offer.  She sets off on a journey to uncover what exactly her family stood for and how they really made their money.

I found myself speed reading this gem.  The book is long and a LOT is said throughout the book.  The irony is that the book deals with things that are unsaid.  I guess we the reader just need a lot to understand everything going on.

I will say, without giving too much away, I really enjoyed the end and how it was all brought together.  Sometimes family secrets are best kept a secret and I enjoyed how the author chose to leave the book.  I did not enjoy the amount of time it took me to get to that point however.

The story is one that is multi-generational (and told through multi-generational perspectives) and bits and pieces are put together from past to present.  It was lovely having the different viewpoints and how we as a society have changed (and haven’t) since the World War II era.

I am going to give this book 3.5 stars (rounding up to 4 on rating sites).   It was a long read that felt like a chore at some points for me.  I did enjoy how everything came together, but it was just so long.  I felt like a huge part of the beginning of the book was only focused on the past and the present day was only there to uncover “secrets” which aren’t really that amazing of a secret.  The one secret that would be scandalous isn’t ever outright said, we the reader just need to interpret what the characters are saying.  Overall, just an OK read.  Have you read this one?

 

Details

Title: The Guest Book

Author:  Sarah Blake

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Release Date: May 7, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

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I love when I check my mailbox and I find surprise goodies inside!!  Check out what was hiding in my mailbox today…

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Goodreads Summary

An unforgettable love story, a novel about past mistakes and betrayals that ripple throughout generations, The Guest Book examines not just a privileged American family, but a privileged America. It is a literary triumph.

The Guest Book follows three generations of a powerful American family, a family that “used to run the world”.

And when the novel begins in 1935, they still do. Kitty and Ogden Milton appear to have everything—perfect children, good looks, a love everyone envies. But after a tragedy befalls them, Ogden tries to bring Kitty back to life by purchasing an island in Maine. That island, and its house, come to define and burnish the Milton family, year after year after year. And it is there that Kitty issues a refusal that will haunt her till the day she dies.

In 1959 a young Jewish man, Len Levy, will get a job in Ogden’s bank and earn the admiration of Ogden and one of his daughters, but the scorn of everyone else. Len’s best friend Reg Pauling has always been the only black man in the room—at Harvard, at work, and finally at the Miltons’ island in Maine.

An island that, at the dawn of the 21st century, this last generation doesn’t have the money to keep. When Kitty’s granddaughter hears that she and her cousins might be forced to sell it, and when her husband brings back disturbing evidence about her grandfather’s past, she realizes she is on the verge of finally understanding the silences that seemed to hover just below the surface of her family all her life.

An ambitious novel that weaves the American past with its present, The Guest Book looks at the racism and power that has been systemically embedded in the US for generations. Brimming with gorgeous writing and bitterly accurate social criticism, it is a literary tour de force.

 

What caught my attention to this book was Maine…I spent 21 summers in York, Maine and have been able to bring my kids there.  I love Maine.  I cannot wait to dive in to this story, due out May 7, 2019!  I will be sure to let you all know what I think!  Anyone else get this ARC??