The Last Summer Of The Camperdowns – Elizabeth Kelly (2014) – A Chick-Lit From A Male Point Of View Review


I know it’s pushing it a bit describing Elizabeth Kelly’s novel as “Chick-Lit”, but it is more of female interest, so as I’m short of a review to go in this section this week I’m going to let it go.  Set in Summer 1972 in Cape Cod and told in flashback, this is the summer when twelve year old Riddle Camperdown’s life changed forever. She is an only child with an ex-movie star mother and a father running for election. What is expected to be a summer of horse-riding and election campaign events is disrupted by the return of an old flame of her mother’s and the disappearance of his teenage son. Elizabeth Kelly’s second novel is a well-told, involving tale, full of secrets and with considerable potential for reading group discussions.

I did enjoy this but the self-absorbed adult characters with their brittle put-downs and passion for one-upmanship became a little wearying. It distanced me from the unfolding events of the novel and from its impending sense of menace which is at times, very effectively conveyed. There has been much praise for this in the American press but I feel that over here we respond to a little more warmth in characterisation. Having said that, the tale Kelly tells will linger in my memory and this book is worth seeking out.   threestars


A slightly edited version of this review was written originally for the Newbooks website.


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