Fiction; 400 pgs
Twenty-five-year-old Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family’s crumbling mansion in rural St. Jude, Ohio, mourning the loss of the woman who raised her—her grandmother, June. But a knock on the door forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary matinee idol Jack Montgomery's vast fortune. How did Jack Montgomery know her name? Could he have crossed paths with her grandmother all those years ago? What other shocking secrets could June’s once-stately mansion hold?
Soon Jack’s famous daughters come knocking, determined to wrestle Cassie away from the inheritance they feel is their due. Together, they all come to discover the true reasons for June’s silence about that long-ago summer, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack’s lives were forever altered by murder, blackmail, and betrayal. As this page-turner shifts deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.
Guilt and regret weigh heavily on Cassie Danvers. She is clearly depressed, in the opening chapter of the novel, isolating herself from the world around her, preferring to sleep and dream with the ghosts of the house rather than actually live her own life. She isn't sure what to believe when Nick comes knocking on her door with the news she may be the granddaughter of a famous movie star. While the promise of money is nice, it isn't what most drives Cassie in wanting to know the truth about the movie star, Jack Montgomery, and her grandmother. Had her grandmother been keeping secrets from her? Why hadn't her grandmother trusted her? Who was her grandmother really?
Cassie's quiet life is upended by the arrival of Jack's daughter, Tate, and her assistants Nick and Hank. Tate appears to be perfection incarnate, and yet she is demanding and clearly troubled, her own life not quite as stable as it appears on the surface. She does not want to believe the fairy tale marriage of her parents was in fact a lie. Hasn't she already lost enough?
As the women peer into the past, hoping to find answers, the reader learns the story of June and her young friend, Lindie. In 1955, the town of St. Jude, Ohio was thriving. Hollywood was in town to film a movie and June was preparing for her upcoming wedding. It would be a summer neither women could forget.
I really enjoyed this book. The atmosphere of both time periods was rich and detailed. My favorite time period in the book was whichever I was in right at the moment I was reading.
For those who love stories about old houses, Two Oaks, will appeal to you. It comes alive with its spirit and those of the ghosts longing for life to fill the halls and rooms again. I would love to have explored the house more; so much history to be found there! St. Jude itself could also be said to be a character--from its hey day to it's decline with time and age, and yet still a jewel.
Although June is the title character in the book, this is also very much Lindie's story too. She and her dad live across the street from Two Oaks. Lindie's only friend is June. She wants nothing more than for June to be happy, and she worries that June's marrying Artie Danvers will be a mistake. She's enamored by the film people and takes a job as an assistant, running errands, helping with costumes and doing whatever else is asked of her.
This book is so rich in characterization. It's hard to know how much to go into without risk of spoiling something. June loves Two Oaks and St. Jude. She has a good head on her shoulders for the most part. She has a difficult decision to make--follow her heart or listen to her head. Lindie is a bit of an outcast. She hates wearing dresses and is often the butt of jokes among other girls her age. She knows she is different, knows her love will likely remain unrequited, and yet she takes what she can get, and will do anything for her friend, June.
Cassie seems like a lost soul in the beginning, but over the course of the book she grows as a character, coming back to herself, regaining control of her life. Tate Montgomery and her entourage are pure Hollywood. Wealthy, entitled and yet fragile. I especially liked Nick who would do anything for Tate, and yet had a soft spot for Cassie. Hank would also do anything for Tate--and she does. She always seems to have everything under control. There's also the other Montgomery sister, Elda, who has less a role in the novel but is an important character nonetheless. I'm still not quite sure what to make of her even after finishing the book. She's one of those people I imagine I wouldn't like at first, but would grow on me after awhile.
June has a bit of everything from a family saga, to romance to mystery and dual narratives, taking readers from the present back to 1955. There is drama and heartache. Hope and family. I was entranced as I read. I didn't want the story to end. And yet, what a great ending it was. I honestly didn't expect to be as taken with June as I was. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
To learn more about Miranda Beverly-Whittemere and her work, please visit the author's website. She can also be found on Goodreads and Twitter.
I hope you will check out what others had to say about June on the TLC Book Tours route!
Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. Review copy provided by publisher for an honest review.
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