Sail on

Shreve writes so well that for a while she seems able to reinvigorate the tired plot device of gathering a group of school friends for an unexpected reunion in middle age. Reunions of this kind invariably spark soul searching and reawaken old romantic feelings. Here a group of seven gather at an elegant Berkshire inn to celebrate the wedding of two high school sweethearts who separated in college and then, some 20 years later, found each other again. Their new marriage is burdened by the bride’s battle with cancer, and the whole group is haunted by a tragedy that occurred shortly before graduation. The characters are engaging, and the secrets and confessions that emerge in the course of the weekend bring some suspense to the novel. But rather than fully exploring the issues of guilt, forgiveness and lost opportunities that the book raises, Shreve too often focuses on the trivial.

 

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