In Alice McDermott’s first work of fiction since her best-selling, National Book Award-winning Charming Billy, a woman recalls her 15th summer with the wry and bittersweet wisdom of hindsight.
The beautiful child of older parents, raised on the eastern end of Long Island, Theresa is her town’s most sought-after babysitter—cheerful, poised, an effortless storyteller, a wonder with children and animals. Among her charges this fateful summer is Daisy, her younger cousin, who has come to spend a few quiet weeks in this bucolic place. While Theresa copes with the challenge presented by the neighborhood’s waiflike children, the tumultuous households of her employers, the attentions of an aging painter, and Daisy’s fragility of body and spirit, her precocious, tongue-in-cheek sense of order is tested as she makes the perilous crossing into adulthood. In her deeply etched rendering of all that happened that seemingly idyllic season, McDermott once again peers into the depths of everyday life with inimitable insight and grace.