Cape May

Chip Cheek

Book - 2019

"It's 1957, and Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon. It's September, though, and 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. There's 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, He...nry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences."--Page 4 of cover.

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Romance fiction
Erotic fiction
New York, N.Y. : Celadon Books 2019.
Main Author
Chip Cheek (author)
Physical Description
248 pages ; 25 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

It might have been an ordinary if disappointing honeymoon for a conventional 1950s couple from Georgia, Effie and Henry: a week at Cape May on the Jersey Shore, in a house owned by a relative; unfortunately, it's September, and the shore has been shuttered for the winter, leaving the naive couple at loose ends. Until something happens. It takes decades for Henry to make sense of it: ""He understands now the way desire spreads, like heat how, when he and Effie discovered it in each other, they awoke to the swollen desirability all around them."" And, yet, this is no soft-focus coming-of-age story, like the movie Summer of '42; Effie and Henry are utterly unprepared for the welter of emotions brought to the surface through their exposure to sex, gin, jazz, and, most of all, a trio of distinctly unconventional hedonists encamped in a house down the road. Mood drives the story the empty beach town exudes a barely hidden sense of threat, of the unknown lurking everywhere. And, as Effie and Henry become closer to playboy Max; his lover, Clara; and his half sister, Alma, we feel the gathering storm in every aspect of the landscape, from the roiling ocean waves to the reverberating clink of the gin bottle. Yes, betrayals are at the core of what happens at Cape May, but, beyond that, this remarkable debut novel offers a sobering reminder of how the possibilities of life, when first encountered, often carry their own riptide.--Bill Ott Copyright 2019 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

Cheek's strong debut is a psychodrama that shows just how easily people can be manipulated. Henry, 20, and Effie, 18, are young, virginal newlyweds from rural Georgia on their honeymoon in Cape May, N.J., in 1957, arriving in the off-season of September, when it's largely deserted. Just kids, they are naive and unprepared for their meeting with three worldly hedonists who introduce them to booze, lust, and sexual obsession. Clara is a free-spirited, wealthy socialite, Max is her bodybuilder lover, and Alma is Max's cunning younger half sister. The trio's bawdy, vulgar drunkenness fascinates the newlyweds, especially Henry, who is charmed by Clara and sexually seduced by Alma. Henry's guilt is quickly rationalized as he carelessly surrenders his conscience to his sexual obsession of Alma. His need is insatiable, but her unreasonable demands force him to make promises he cannot keep. Cheek does a good job with his cast; Henry and Effie are finely drawn and their slide from innocence starkly depicted. The novel's ending is particularly startling-a memorable final note in this cogent examination of marital infidelity and betrayal. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Review by Library Journal Review

DEBUT In 1957, young and naïve newlywed couple Henry and Effie travel from their small Georgia town to Cape May, NJ, for their honeymoon at a relative's vacant seaside cottage. They don't expect the shore to be practically deserted by September and are about to leave early when they encounter a sophisticated trio who invite them to stay and join their ongoing party. Glamorous socialite Clara; her wealthy lover, Max; and his half-sister, Alma, draw the young couple, particularly Henry, into their heady world of anything goes, including breaking into empty houses for kicks. Fueled by large amounts of gin, they are soon plunging headlong into the sort of frenzied bacchanal that calls to mind California in the Sixties and Seventies more than 1950s New Jersey. But can these "babes in the woods," as Clara calls them, kick over the traces of their upbringing so abruptly without any repercussions? VERDICT This erotic debut novel will draw in readers and stay with them. The author's perceptive exploration of innocence and experience, corruption and betrayal, makes for compelling reading. [See Prepub Alert, 10/15/18.]-Leslie -Patterson, Rehoboth, MA © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Review by Kirkus Book Review

This young couple's September honeymoon in Cape May got so boring they almost went home early. If only.Henry and Effie got married a few months after high school graduation in their 1950s Georgia hometown and have come to while away two weeks in Effie's uncle's house, the site of fondly remembered summer visits all through her childhood. Unfortunately, Effie "had not understood what 'off-season' meant," and Henry's no helphe's never been north of Atlanta. Sadly, the "old clerk at the grocer's seemed as happy to see them as they were to see him." At least they have the delicious problem of losing their virginities, and then their inhibitions, with the help of Uncle George's well-stocked liquor cabinet. But after several days, the sad, lonely feel of the town starts to get to them. They are planning to leave a week early when they notice lights on down the street and decide to stop by. The effusive woman who answers the door turns out to be someone Effie knows, a friend of her much older cousinactually, someone she hated. But before she can get Henry out of there, gin is being poured, dinner is being served, and a gang of people, including everyone from older men in tuxedos, beatniks, Coast Guard cadets, and a naked toddler, is boogeying it up in the living room. Higher on gin and excitement than she's ever been in her life, Effie decides running into Clara Strauss was not such a bad thing after all. The couple becomes completely infatuated with this decadent, sexy, cosmopolitan crowd, in the process falling down a rabbit hole with life-changing consequences. Deceptively relaxed and simple at first, the novel seems to be an easygoing trip down Memory Lane. It soon reveals itself as a swirling vortex of psychological suspense with insights about marriage that recall writers like Margot Livesey and Alice Munro.The 1950s setting, the pellucid prose, and the propulsive plot make this very steamy debut novel about morality and desire feel like a classic. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.