THE SECOND HOME - Christina Clancy
A Perfect 10
St. Martin's Press
ISBN: 978-1-250-23934-1 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 978-1-250-23960-0 (ebook)
June 2020

Wellfleet, MA and Wisconsin - Present day and 1999/2000

Ann Gordon is at her family's summer home on Cape Cod to meet with a realtor. As much as it pains her, she has convinced herself that the two-hundred-year-old house must be sold. With the recent sudden deaths of her parents in a car accident, Ann, the eldest daughter, has been left to clean up the mess of their tragic loss. The only problem is, she cannot find a will, so she has made some individual decisions that may not sit well with her sister, or the adopted brother who has been out of the picture for a while. Her sister, Poppy, is a free spirit who could be anywhere in the world, surfing, teaching yoga, or who knows what. Ann had no way of contacting her except by email about their parents' deaths, and, as far as she knows, Poppy is still unaware. As for their   brother, Michael, he disappeared sixteen years ago after a family issue that Ann would sooner forget.

The realtor doesn't have a lot of good news for Ann. The repairs on the house have been neglected for years and, despite its history and appeal, may not bring as much as Ann had hoped. Ann had plans to move to a bigger apartment in Boston, help her son with college, and just not have to live paycheck to paycheck. But upon Poppy's arrival, and Ann's son's appeal to keep the house, things get complicated.

Sixteen years ago, Ann had befriended a homeless boy at school, and soon her parents, both teachers and relics of the sixties, embraced Michael, and then adopted him. For Michael, it was the first time he felt safe, and he especially loved it when the Gordons packed up their car and headed to Cape Cod each summer. Two years later, however, his world crashed around him when an incident with Ann involving a family on the Cape that she babysat for dragged him back down. 

Poppy never wanted to settle down, to commit herself to anyone or anything, and she flitted from one country to another, rarely in touch with her family. The horrible news of her parents' deaths drew her back to Wisconsin, where Ann had begged her to go and sell the family home. Unknown to Poppy, her father had moved a man into the house to keep track of Poppy's mother, who had been ill. Brad and Poppy had been students together, the two work out an agreement, and are surprisingly drawn to one another.

Each chapter of THE SECOND HOME is devoted to one character. The family unit has always been free spirited, although Ann has always been a planner (her dad's nickname for her was Ann with a Plan). And now, she is torn by her family's hesitation to sell the summer home. Poppy and Ann's son, Noah, want to keep the house in the family. If only Ann's father had left a will! Things really get complicated when Michael reappears.

I really couldn't put this book down. Readers will want to know what's really going on, who and what caused the break sixteen years ago, and what will happen to the beloved old house. The characters are realistically drawn, all too human, and each has their foibles and strengths. The Cape Cod house is the hero of the story, and every reader will be able to see it in their minds. 

THE SECOND HOME is a keeper, and a Perfect 10.

Jani Brooks