Esme Cahill Fails Spectacularly

Morrow. May 2023. 368p. ISBN 9780062997319. pap. $18.99. F
Bostwick’s latest novel (following The Restoration of Celia Fairchild) features alternating storylines that chronicle the lives of two strong women: Adele in 1942 and Esme in 1997. At age 31, Esme has her major life milestones mapped out, and all is proceeding mostly according to plan. Then events stop Esme in her tracks and change the trajectory of her idyllic New York literary life. She returns home to her family’s quaint fishing resort near Asheville, NC, to regroup. Twenty-one-year-old Adele, born and raised in Baltimore, is sent to manage artwork from the National Gallery while it is secretly housed at the Biltmore estate during World War II. While she is in Asheville, she meets George, and her life is irrevocably changed. Beyond the family connection that links Adele and her granddaughter Esme, Esme feels an almost supernatural pull that compels her to seek and share more details of Adele’s story.
VERDICT Readers will love this feel-good novel that embraces the idea of family and small-town living while it extols the unexpected benefits of veering off the path from a perfectly mapped life.
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