Lottie is the narrator of The Children, the recently released book by Ann Leary. She would prefer you to think of her as a homebody, though she’s flirting wth agoraphobia or perhaps she just refuses to grow up and stop living with her mother, Joan in the Whitman family home. She is also a mommy blogger even though she has no children and never did.

While no one would confuse them for the Brady Bunch as they were both married when they met and fell in love, nonetheless, when Whit Whitman married Joan Maynard, he brought his two sons Perry and Spin and she brought her two daughters, Sally and Lottie into the new blended family. Although Perry and Spin spent quite a bit of the year with their mother, the girls adored them and always thought the family was whole when the boys came. They thought of them as brothers.

However Whit died before our story began, leaving the home to the boy, though with their promise that Joan would live there as long as she wanted. He was from old money and never had to work himself and the children were children of privilege, allowing, for example, Lottie to be living at home rather than looking for work.

By the end of the second chapter we know that a tragedy will happen, one that ends with the death of Spin and it all has something to do with Laurel, a beautiful, young woman who would have been on the Olympic ski team if not for a terrible accident.

So Spin brings his Laurel to meet the family before they marry. Sally is home, Lottie never left and Scarey Perry is out of sight and mostly out of mind. Things do not go well.

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I did not enjoy this book very much. It well-written enough, but the people were basically unlikable.  It was occasionally a bit funny and Lottie is a wry commentator. It is also very much of today with mommy bloggers, goFundme’s, cat fishing and sock puppets. It is also an old-fashioned story of family secrets kept far too long, of people with privilege not following the rules and allowing those with less privilege, like Ev the handyman’s son,  to pay the price, of people talking, not listening, a family fracturing for want of simply hearing each other. I would have more pity, but they all seem to have enough they don’t need mine. They are all so self-absorbed, I don’t think they need my attention at all. And so, I really did not care that much about them. The Children is a short book and that’s a good thing.

I received an Advanced Reader Copy from the publisher through Goodreads Giveaways.

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