In September in 1957, recent newlyweds from Georgia, Henry and Effie
arrive in Cape May, New Jersey for their honeymoon. But the summer
season is over and the town is deserted of tourists and entertainment.
Thinking of cutting their honeymoon short to go back to Georgia, Henry
and Effie end up meeting a sophisticated group of cosmopolitans who
convince them to stay in town and extend their honeymoon. Bored and
intrigued, Henry and Effie agree to stay. But the longer they stay, the
more temptations in forms of alcohol and sex their new friends throw
their way until one night that will alter Henry and Effie's lives forever.
Blending a sophisticated brew of innocence and bitterness as well as
adding a dash of the calm before the storm that is reminiscent of The
Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, CAPE MAY by Chip Cheek was a true delight to devour.
The best part of the story are the multifaceted characters that we
meet, and how often with a right word or action, we really see into their
souls and become captive to their desires. These are the characters
that one either hates or loves, understands or judges. Other parts of
the story that I truly enjoyed are the feeling of aimlessness amongst the
wealthy set, of being lost in the jungle of life, and how Effie and Henry
change after their honeymoon. I also really enjoyed Clara, Max, and
Alma, and wished there could have been updates on their lives at the
end of the book.
CAPE MAY is a rare tale where I
can say that all elements of the tale worked well together and its a book
I will return to again to figure out and see what else I can find out about
the characters. For a reader seeking a book that is reminiscent of The
Great Gatsby, or else an unconventional tale of love and romance where
certain elements can go wrong, CAPE
MAY by Chip Cheek should be a wonderful treat for both the
upcoming seasons of summer.
A mesmerizing debut novel by Chip Cheek, Cape May
explores the social and sexual mores of 1950s America
through the eyes of a newly married couple from the genteel
south corrupted by sophisticated New England urbanites.
Late September 1957. Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds
from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their
honeymoon only to find the town is deserted. Feeling shy of
each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short.
But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people
who sweep them up into their drama. Clara, a beautiful
socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy
playboy and Clara’s lover; and Alma, Max’s aloof and
mysterious half-sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn.
The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they
sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked
under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin,
Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with
Erotic and moving, this is a novel about marriage, love and
sexuality, and the lifelong repercussions that meeting a
group of debauched cosmopolitans has on a new marriage.