What You Never Knew

Crooked Lane. Apr. 2021. 304p. ISBN 9781643856964. $27.99. M
DEBUT April Bennett always told her daughters, May and June, that she sold Avril Island on Lake Champlain after their father, Simon, left them. Following April’s death, May is shocked to learn that she has inherited the island, but because of her inattention after leaving the lawyer’s office, she’s killed in a car accident. That leaves June as the only one in the family to return to the island. Residents are shocked at the return of one of the “Avril Bennetts” 30 years after Simon’s disappearance. Even Ezra Keen, once June’s best friend, is surprised. It’s only as she finds newspaper headlines and asks around that June discovers newspaper accounts of an affair between her mother and Ezra’s father, West; as well as accounts of West’s own disappearance, and rumors of murder. In alternating voices, June and the ghost of May uncover the true story of what happened to their family years ago on Avril Island.
VERDICT With an emphasis on place and characters, the debut is a slow-moving, atmospheric novel. Only readers with a great deal of patience will wade through the alternating viewpoints from the dead May and the living June to uncover a secret that isn’t very surprising.
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