Cover Image: June

June

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Member Reviews

Note: clearing old books from before 2019

Did not have time to read this book - still on my TBR. Thank you for the opportunity and my apologies for not getting to it.
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Thanks to NetGalley, the publisher and author for the opportunity to read this book!

This book was just released in paperback - the perfect opportunity to pick up a great read! This one languished on my NetGalley shelf for awhile; after reading it, I was disappointed I didn't read it sooner!

This story just worked for me. Set in fictional St Jude, Ohio, it switches timelines between 1955 and 2015. In 2015, Cassie is fresh from a breakup and a life in NYC when her grandmother dies and leaves Cassie her mansion in St Jude. The house, however, is falling down around Cassie who can't garner enough energy to even pick up the mail that is accumulating inside her front door. A stranger comes to the door one day to tell her about an inheritance from a stranger. 

In 1955, June (Cassie's grandmother) is 18 and on the verge of marrying a man because she feels it's her duty. Lindie is the girl from across the street, motherless and a tomboy, who worships June. When Hollywood comes to shoot a movie in St Jude, it brings movie stars and complications to June and Lindie's life.

I loved these characters - their messy lives, their loyalties and desires, and loved falling into their world for awhile. Highly recommended!
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Family secrets, great personal sacrifices, powerful friendships, dangerous enemies, and old world Hollywood encroaching on small town Ohio make up June, a novel told in dual timelines. Hopping back and forth between 2015 and 1955, June tells the story of Cassie Danvers as she mourns the loss of her very private grandmother–the only family that she had in the world since her mother and father were killed in a car accident that the three of them were in when Cassie was a young girl. Cassie miraculously survived and Grandma June gave up her life in St. Jude to live in a different town so Cassie’s life wouldn’t be upturned any more than it already was. Fast forward nearly twenty years, and Cassie’s grandmother has just passed away from cancer–an illness that she didn’t tell her granddaughter about until it was nearly too late–and  Cassie has inherited a crumbling mansion in small town St. Jude that has been in their family since it was built in the late 1800s, along with about $14,000. But what follows while Cassie shuts herself away from the world, as she ignores the mail piling up and the upkeep that the mansion so desperately needs–like a hole in the roof, a long overgrown garden,  and a heating system that doesn’t work–is a firestorm of unwanted visitors that make her question all she knew about her grandmother and her father’s lineage.

 

A Mourning Granddaughter Digs into Her Grandmother’s Past…

Cassie becomes curious about her grandmother June’s life when someone claiming to be movie star Jack Montgomery’s daughter’s assistant shows up on the doorstep of the mansion, claiming that Cassie has been named the sole heir of Jack’s fortune. Why would a movie star famous when her grandmother was young leave Cassie all of his money, 37 million dollars to be exact. Before she knows it, Tate Montgomery, with two assistants in tow, has practically moved in to the dilapidated mansion–to hide out from her troubled life in the spotlight while Cassie decides whether or not to take a DNA test proving that her father was Jack’s son. After all, would June want her private life splattered all over the tabloids and town? Cassie’s desire to take photographs and document life had dissipated in the months since she left New York City and taken up residence in small town St. Jude, but this bout of depression and listlessness can only be helped when she has a goal to work toward. Reconnecting with her family’s past and maybe finding new family just might be her cure.

A Simple Time Wasn’t So Sweet and Simple For Everyone…

The mansion has other ideas about the past coming to light, and Cassie starts having vivid dreams of two girls in the past: June and her best friend Lindie. June isn’t exactly happy that she’s about to marry an older man as arranged by her mother and a successful family friend to restore her family’s lost fortune, but she knows that he’s a sweet, honorable man, so the marriage will be a good thing. But she’s young and idealistic, and she wants to truly be in love. Lindie’s nearly four years younger at fourteen, and she’ll barely admit to herself that she’s in love with June. But she knows that June doesn’t like her like that, so Lindie’s content protecting June and being her best friend, and especially looking out for June’s best interests. And when a Hollywood movie comes to town and the male lead sets his sights on winning June over, Lindie’s up for helping the love story between Jack and June begin.

Twin Oaks Is A Character All Unto Itself…

The crumbling mansion of 2015 was once a vibrant home in 1955, housing June and her mother, along with their uncle Lemon Green Neely, the builder of the home, and the African American housekeeper Apatha. The house is talked about as if it is a living, breathing entity, and everyone who has ever been there can show up in Cassie’s dreams–even during the day she can feel them if the house chooses to do so. The supernatural element of the house sending Cassie the dreams of her Grandmother June and her best friend Lindie from when they were young was something that I felt could have been explored a bit more, especially since it was more like the reader gets the entire story while Cassie didn’t remember anything when she woke up. Miranda Beverly-Whittemore really did her research on what a house from this era would look like, down to the furniture inside. The author has a fantastic Pinterest board for this novel, and I definitely recommend that you check it out if you’re into that kind of thing.

I give June a four out of five. The dual timelines worked for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the small town feel of St. Jude in both 1955 and 2015. Having grown up in a town of 2500 residents myself, I know the claustrophobia of small town life very well, and the author captured it well. The characters are all well-drawn and realistic, even if some of them were stubborn and pigheaded until the end. The ending seemed a bit rushed, and it left me wanting to know more about June and Jack’s relationship –especially since everything was kept so hidden from both of their families over the years. I would also love to know more about Cassie and her new relationships, especially how the house is coming along. June is essentially a story about love, loss, and second chances–no matter how long they take to get them.
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Another home run from Beverly-Whittemore. Great selection for book clubs,
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Cassie Denvers has fled NYC for rural St. Jude, Ohio.  Staying in her grandma's old home - which has deteriorated over the years, Cassie is morning her death.  As the bills pile up, Cassie is not interested in anything around her until someone knocks on the door and informs her that she has been named as the sole heir to actor Jack Montgomery's fortune.  Cassie's inertia is further shattered when Jack's daughters arrive at her door wondering how and why Cassie is connected to the family.

In the 1950's, June (Cassie's grandmother) is awaiting the arrival of her fiance's return to St. Jude.  Her best friend, Lindie, is afraid that June is making a mistake and will do anything to stop her marriage.  In the meantime, St. Jude is about to become the backdrop for a Hollywood movie -starring Jack Montgomery.

This is a story of mystery, family secrets, love, and friendship.  I found it hard to get into at first.  The initial chapters introducing Cassie were not the interesting to me.  Cassie just seemed to be avoiding the world and just letting things happen.  The arrival of Nick who tells her about the will spurs her into action when she refuses to provide a DNA sample to solve the mystery of whether she is Jack's granddaughter.  The arrival of Tate and company starts to give Cassie a feeling a family that she has not had and despite herself she finds herself becoming more interested in that. She also learns that June was more complicated than she realized.  June and Lindie's tale in the past is also interesting as June fights the expectations placed upon her as Lindie draws her into the movie world.
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June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore follows twenty-five-year-old Cassie, who has just returned to small-town St. Jude, Ohio following the death of her grandmother. Holed up alone in the dilapidated mansion she just inherited, Cassie is surprised one day to find a handsome stranger at her doorstep claiming that she has also inherited the fortune of the late legendary actor Jack Montgomery. Montgomery’s recognized daughter, a movie star in her own right, isn’t buying it and comes knocking. She wants Cassie to take a paternity test. Cassie, instead, decides to see what she can dig up about her grandmother’s possible illicit affair with Jack. Told through alternating time periods, June is a light, romantic read that blends contemporary family mystery with old school Hollywood glamour. (Published in The Napanee Beaver, December 29, 2016, pgs. 6-7)
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