“The Guest Book” by Sarah Blake

5 stars

Not until the reader gets to the end of this sprawling saga of the quintessential WASP family, the Miltons, will the reason for the omission of a name from the guest book at their Maine summer home, Crockett Island, be understood. Sarah Blake succeeds in immersing the reader in impressionistic scenes and time periods from the 1930s to the 1990s, giving a sense of the times, the styles, the politics, and above all, the issues the main characters face. The novel succeeds in showing how actions made in the “here and now” can have sometimes fatal consequences. Readers who have enjoyed books like The Magnificent Ambersons and Buddenbrooks will love this story about what lies beneath the facade of a family’s attempt to maintain status and tradition, and how greed, prejudice, and suppressed desires lead to its disintegration.

–Arlene L.

Posted in Summer Reading Adult.