The Guest Book

The Guest Book

A Novel

eBook - 2019
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Instant New York Times Bestseller Longlisted for Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence “The Guest Book is monumental in a way that few novels dare attempt.” —The Washington Post The thought-provoking new novel by New York Times bestselling author Sarah Blake A lifetime of secrets. A history untold. No. It is a simple word, uttered on a summer porch in 1936. And it will haunt Kitty Milton for the rest of her life. Kitty and her husband, Ogden, are both from families considered the backbone of the country. But this refusal will come to be Kitty’s defining moment, and its consequences will ripple through the Milton family for generations. For while they summer on their island in Maine, anchored as they are to the way things have always been, the winds of change are beginning to stir. In 1959 New York City, two strangers enter the Miltons’ circle. One captures the attention of Kitty’s daughter, while the other makes each of them question what the family stands for. This new generation insists the times are changing. And in one night, everything does. So much so that in the present day, the third generation of Miltons doesn’t have enough money to keep the island in Maine. Evie Milton’s mother has just died, and as Evie digs into her mother’s and grandparents’ history, what she finds is a story as unsettling as it is inescapable, the story that threatens the foundation of the Milton family myth. Moving through three generations and back and forth in time, The Guest Book asks how we remember and what we choose to forget. It shows the untold secrets we inherit and pass on, unknowingly echoing our parents and grandparents. Sarah Blake’s triumphant novel tells the story of a family and a country that buries its past in quiet, until the present calls forth a reckoning.
Publisher: [S.l.]: Flatiron Books, 2019.
ISBN: 9781250110268
Characteristics: 448 p.
Additional Contributors: cloudLibrary

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skeenp
Nov 11, 2020

5 Stars!

I will not go into a synopsis of the story as others have done that. I read this with my book club and people said that they couldn't get into it, the book was slow, too much jumping around between generations made it difficult to follow. These comments are basically true although I will say that the beginning of the book explains so much of what happens later that you need to dig in and stay with it. This is a thinking book not just entertainment, and I believe it is one of the best books I have ever read. Yes, there are descriptions of the very rich and their lifestyles but more broadly, it is about a family's history of racism, anti-semitism, classism, bigotry and how the repercussions of actions related to these attitudes cripple so many lives. The cover-ups, the secrets that are kept can leave people in a sort of limbo with their history smothering them for decades.

Read this book if you want to dig into history, rich characters and absolutely beautiful writing.

r
reedjc1
Oct 30, 2020

This was a slow slog through a lot of verbiage but not much happening. I kept waiting for the big reveal or a mystery to be solved or something to happen. There is a bit of a reveal but nothing that supported all the words, words, words surrounding it.

j
JSadler123
Jun 25, 2020

In this favored novel by Sarah Blake, “The Guest Book” follows prominently well off families through multiple time periods. There are quite a few characters throughout the story. With many different switches and now a defining initial shift, the reader could easily find themselves wondering what story they’re currently following.

I found this happening to myself on a few different occasions. I was also waiting for some small kind of “mystery” to be solved, but it never really came. At a few different points I found myself comparing this novel to “Summer of ‘69”. I think this comes from the following or wealthy families and the island life. Overall, this was a fine read, but not one that I am very likely to recommend.

n
njon38
Feb 22, 2020

This is just the kind of mulitgenerational novel I love to tuck into. Sweeping tale of three generations of the Milton family with their secrets and their consequences starting in 1935 (think profiting in Nazi Germany) This book showcases old money, racism, homophobia status, privilege, power, choices, inequality, and the economic divide.

c
Carolshasta
Jan 31, 2020

Good story but way too long. Couldn’t wait for it to end.

m
marystrubledeery
Oct 06, 2019

Per Gail and Barry Swanson

b
betz1
Oct 01, 2019

An excellent read. Generational characters, sometimes hard to determine who/where.
Family of secrets, want to do the right thing. Characters were rich and complex. Some surprises along the way.

e
Erbrassell
Sep 13, 2019

This story sticks with you. The characters are rich and complex to match the choices they make in their lives. I really enjoyed watching those choices unfold over three generations. A great read, writing style is excellent - definitely make sure you have time to focus in on what you’re reading as the author weaves in little bombshells sometimes when you least expect it! :)

b
betsymarzoni
Sep 09, 2019

Three generations of a very wealthy, influential family who want to be "good people", who think they are living exemplary lives, but who also harbor secrets about choices made during the rise and power of Hitler Germany. Two strangers enter their lives and challenge them to question who they really are and what they really believe in. The many secrets are eventually uncovered by the granddaughter who has to face the burden of the surprises.

m
Martha C Benner
Sep 01, 2019

By the time I finished this book I was worn out. It is a good book, well written but so long. Was hard to switch between the generations.

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