After a disastrous summer spent at her family summer home on Cape Cod, seventeen-year-old Ann Gordon was left with a secret that changed her life forever, and created a rift between her sister, Poppy, and their adopted brother, Michael.
Now, fifteen years later, her parents have died, leaving Ann and Poppy to decide the fate of the Wellfleet home that’s been in the Gordon family for generations. For Ann, the once-beloved house is tainted with bad memories. Poppy loves the old saltbox, but after years spent chasing waves around the world, she isn’t sure she knows how to stay in one place.
Just when the sisters decide to sell, Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about that long ago summer. Reunited after years apart, these very different siblings must decide if they can continue to be a family—and the house just might be the glue that holds them together.
Told through the shifting perspectives of Ann, Poppy, and Michael, this assured and affecting debut captures the ache of nostalgia for summers past and the powerful draw of the places we return to again and again. It is about second homes, second families, and second chances. Tender and compassionate, incisive and heartbreaking, The Second Home is the story of a family you’ll quickly fall in love with, and won’t soon forget.
Sometimes you read a book that touches your heart in lasting ways, and The Second Home was one such book for me. It is a heart-wrenching story about family – what makes a family, what breaks a family, and what brings a family back together – and at the center of it all is the family beach house at Cape Cod.
This story captures the smallest nuances of the family, so sincerely and honestly, I expect to see the Gordons if I should ever make it to Cape Cod. Narrated by all three siblings, the story could have become disjointed and confusing. But, all three narrators tell their story in seamless tandem that is delightful to read and enhances the importance contained within their tale.
Connie and Ed Gordon are the parents of Ann and Poppy and the adoptive parents of Michael. They are known to smoke pot from time to time and are very relaxed parents, though not permissive. Two things stand out about Connie and Ed – their love for all three of their children and their love for the family home on Cape Cod and what it represents.
Ann Gordon – a classic oldest child, she excels at everything and always has a plan. A babysitting job the summer before senior year begins a string of events that will change her life and that of her siblings for a decade.
Poppy Gordon is a free spirit who follows life wherever it takes her and enjoys many adventures until she forced her to return home and learn an emotional lesson about all that she missed while she was gone.
Michael Gordon – the adopted son of Connie and Ed, he is the same age as Ann. Michael had a hard life before his adoption, and it made him the thoughtful and responsible young man we meet in the story. In a short amount of time, he learned to care for the Gordons and all that was important to them. When he does what he thinks Ann wants him to do, it creates a rift that only honest communication will fix.
And at the center of it all stands the Cape Cod house. An old house that is not considered ideal by anyone other than the Gordons. It is a quirky old house, sitting right next to a major highway. Many things need to be updated, and the road is loud, but it has been a treasure in the Gordon family for four generations. Every summer, the Gordons packed up and drove to their second home for the entire summer. They never considered not making the long drive or selling the beloved home until the house’s fate is put in Ann’s hands. It is at this point that the Gordon siblings discover the true nature of this vacation home. It is the glue that binds the family. It is the one place they get to live in the moment with each other, where past, present, and future all come together, reminding them that family is all that is important.
I shed more than one tear as I read this poignant and heartfelt story about a family that is torn apart and tries to find their way back together. With well-developed characters and a homey setting, this story moved me beyond words and will stay with me for some time to come.