This story opens with an omen of a village matriarch dreaming of an animal she’s only seen in photographs, setting everyone on edge, since this has always been followed by a death in the village. This is really her granddaughter Luise’s story, how she becomes a part of the larger world while staying in her village. Though foretold by the omen, the death comes as a shock to the entire village, tugging connections and shifting perspectives, grief overshadowing all. I love how the author infuses a little bit of magic into the story through the unusual perspectives, beliefs, and seemingly accurate superstitions. Leky’s characters are all laid out for the reader, since everyone seems to know everything about everyone else, and she lets us in on all the secrets. Though emotional, it’s easy to stand back from the story and see the whole picture. I was fortunate to receive this wonderful story from the publisher Farrar, Straus, and Giroux through NetGalley.
Greer must find a perfect beach town for her next director to redeem her reputation after the fiasco of her last project. Cypress Key fits the director’s creative dream, complete with abandoned casino for the climax explosion, but Eben, the town’s mayor, seems to be in charge of everything, thwarting her every request to sustain his own vision for community growth rather than commercial development. Greer becomes torn between the townspeople and the movie crew that includes a spoiled star who attempts to scam on the mayor’s daughter. Betwixt unscripted stunts, the town’s resentful socialite, and the contrary agendas, Greer squeaks out with her wits and her sanity, finding more than she expected was possible in a small town.
Mary Kay Andrews’ writing style flows with humor and charm, enticing readers into a delightful tale of worlds clashing, while gracefully representing the complexities of individuals on all sides, so that no one comes across as a villain. She brilliantly presents conflicts with seemingly no possible resolution, yet ties it all up in the end, without losing credibility or character integrity.