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Mystery novel set in NEW YORK and CAPE COD

12th October 2021

Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner, mystery novel set in New York and Cape Cod.

Mystery novel set in NEW YORK and CAPE COD

Daphne Berg used to be friends with glamorous and wealthy Drue Cavanagh at college but frankly, Drue was a bully and found her entertainment by fat shaming Daphne. It was a very skewed and toxic friendship built on persecution and humiliation and not, as some other reviewers have labelled it, ‘teasing’. After a particularly nasty intervention by Drue, which involved a young man, their friendship was severed.

Several years later Drue is having a high society wedding and because she can be so horrible to people, she lacks friends and is now prepared to pay her erstwhile friend Daphne a sum of money to attend and be a maid of honour. Daphne is now a plus-size Social Media influencer and despite misgivings, she spots that she, too, can profit by having her accounts populated by such a high profile family. She is also tempted by the offer of lodging for the weekend in a rather swanky, upmarket estate on Cape Cod.

The wedding hour approaches and then the book takes a different turn. No more for fear of a spoiler.

Oh, goodness, as I write this I feel that the story is really well written but as I lay the plot out, as per above, I am aware that it actually doesn’t really hold together so well. Drue’s behaviour towards Daphne is shocking, it is no wonder their friendship ended (and should have remained filed away under ‘bad and damaging experiences’). The story is not ‘…about the complexities of female friendship..’, it’s about a grotty, dysfunctional friendship.

Pages are devoted to Daphne’s weight issues – and yet, she has found a successful career and feels reasonably comfortable in her skin for the most part. There are nevertheless eating plans thrust at her and weight management courses suggested (hello grandma!), just a great deal of chunter about her weight issues.

In Part 2 the book moves from overriding chicklit to mystery – a surprise – and somehow the transition is a little contrived.

There is examination of living life on-line and building a revenue source from being a Social Media influencer, with its concomitant benefits and pitfalls; family dynamics come under scrutiny; there are WASP-ish lifestyles in the frame and the misfortune of waning wealth. The novel has it all, it’s well packed to be honest and perhaps the number of themes blunted what, at its core, is a decent storyline.

Tina for the TripFiction Team

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021