Novel set in California – Inga Vesper
Enjoy a long long afternoon in Sunnylakes, California
Get ready to travel back in time. It’s the summer of 1959, and the well-trimmed lawns of Sunnylakes, California, wilt under the sun. At some point during the long, long afternoon, Joyce Haney, wife and mother, vanishes from her home, leaving behind two terrified children and a bloodstain on the kitchen floor…
Now THAT is a premise right. Plus the cover. Plus the razor sharp observation……
Let’s head to California…..
Setting: 1950s California
Transport yourself to sunny 1950s California
First of all, travelling to sunny California in the 1950s on a wintery January day was a treat in itself . The cover drew me as I love this kind of décor. A time gone by, old fashioned yet quirky, a setting that immediately shows you the culture and societal expectations of the time. What’s not to like?
The scene setting is immediate and strong. Sunnylakes, California might be fictional but immediately I could recognise the lazy, perfect villages of the golden state. Apt location as when you read on, the glitz quickly comes off that gold and you are left with what really lies beneath.
What lies beneath is a graphic and unsettling account of racial issues, the role of women and society’s expectations of the time. A white housewife goes missing and a young black woman ruby is caught up in it all. Detective Mick is on the case and interviews her and others. The POVs of these characters was a powerful and brilliant tool to showcase the various viewpoints of the time. Joyce’s voice was particularly interesting for reasons you have to discover for yourself.
Primarily, this is a novel about many issues. Judging others, helping your fellow human, racial divisions and so much more. For example, I really liked Ruby and what she was about.
Ironically, given the author’s name, I fancied myself getting on a vesper and heading over to California to read this book. The author created and evoked time and place with ease.
In the end, it was all very Stepford Wives with a bit of The Help thrown in. A great read.
BookTrail Boarding Pass: The Long Long Afternoon
Web: Inga Vesper