Book Review: Cape May by Chip Cheek

   I’ve been reading a lot of historical novels set in seaside locations lately and Cape May seemed as though it would slide nicely into place with the others. As it turns out, Cape May is also about characters—and a country—on the verge of change, played out in a sleepy seaside town, but this book has a darker edge and journey.

   It’s 1957 and newlyweds Henry and Effie have traveled to Cape May on their honeymoon. Having arrived from Georgia during the off season, they find that most of the town is closed down and weather is miserable. Before they can pack up and leave, they come across a trio of wealthy socialites, one of whom Effie knew during her childhood trips to Cape May.  What follows is a gin-fueled, hedonistic loss of naivety and an introduction to evolving sexual dynamics and the consequences of those relationships.

   I’m torn about my feelings toward Cape May, on one hand the setting was spectacularly portrayed and the evolution of Effie and Henry’s relationship intriguing (like any catastrophe would be to watch). On the other, I just didn’t feel any strong ties to any of the characters, so I never felt invested in the story to the point that I would rave about it.     

   *I received a copy of Cape May from NetGalley and Celadon Books in exchange for an honest review

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