This first novel, written by Julia Glass, focuses on relationships and the joys and heartaches that they bring. The book features the McLeods, a Scottish family, and includes father Paul, mother Maureen, and sons Fenno, David and Dennis. In three sections of the book, and using flashbacks, we experience their lives in Scotland, Greece and the United States during three points of time in the 1980s and 1990s. The author sensitively portrays the attributes and foibles of the characters, all family members, friends and lovers of one another. Three of them are serendipitously linked: father/widower Paul meets and is attracted to the young American artist Fern while on a Greek cruise; six years later at the occasion of Paul’s death we observe the adventures of eldest son Fenno, a straight-laced homosexual expatriate who owns a bookstore in New York; finally four years later Fern and Fenno become acquainted while visiting with friends in the Hamptons.
Descriptive language allows the reader to visualize the settings as though they are works of art and the plot moves smoothly back and forth through time. This is a worthwhile book to read.