Monday, January 11, 2010

Dune Road Book Review

Dune Road by Jane Green
Fiction, 2009
ISBN 978-0-670-02086-7

SPOILER ALERT: While I do not give away the specifics of the end of the book, I do address the manner in which this book ends. I will place the “spoiler alert” phrase prior to the actual spoiler incident, so you may read as far as you like.

So far, I have enjoyed all of Jane Green’s books tremendously. The author is originally from London but now lives in Fairfield County, Connecticut, both places I am familiar with and love.

Dune Road is set in the fictional town of Highfield, recognizable to anyone who has lived on the Gold Coast as an amalgamation of all that is Westport/Fairfield/Darien. The main character, Kit Hargrove, has recently undergone a divorce from an extremely suitable yet never present Wall Street worker. Kit is finding her way through life as her own person instead of as a wife or mother, and her friends and new neighbors are there for support and comradeship in this new phase of life. Kit’s story is interwoven with that of her friends, including the neighbor, Edie, who provides nurturing and grandmotherly advice; friend Charlie, whose life is being torn apart by the recent financial crisis; writer Robert McClore with a mysterious past and friend Tracy with an even more mysterious past. Also thrown into the mix are Kit’s children, mother and a mysterious stranger from her mother’s past.

Jane Green’s strength is in creating characters that we like and believe, characters that we would like to someday meet for a cup of coffee. She doesn’t shy away from presenting the ridiculousness of certain lifestyles, the ‘mommy competitions’ and inherent snobbery of a particular social strata. She also does not spend too much time dwelling on these particular snobberies, they simply become a part of the story as her characters try to avoid these pitfalls.

SPOILER ALERT – Okay, here’s the truth. The thing I loved most about this novel was the way it ended. Everything tied neatly at the conclusion with a very happy ending. The good guys earned their rewards and the bad guys were all chased away. Mysteries were solved, friendships remained intact. Far from sappy, as I read this I thought it was the right way to end. We all need a break from the world of terrorism, torture, killing and mayhem, and Dune Road is the perfect book for an escape.

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