Language : eng
ISBN : 9781623650933
Synopsis : Number one New York Times best-selling author Richard North Patterson, author of more than twenty novels, including Degree of Guilt and Silent Witness, returns with a sweeping family drama of dark secrets and individual awakenings. Loss of Innocence, the second book in the Blaine trilogy, “in one life of the 1960s, symbolizes a movement that keeps changing all our lives” (Gloria Steinem) in “a richly-layered look at the loss of innocence not only among his characters but that which America lost as a nation." ( Martha’s Vineyard Times ) “An extraordinary novel—profound, emotionally involving and totally addictive,” said actor and author Stephen Fry, “this may be Richard North Patterson’s best work.” In 1968 America is in turmoil, engulfed in civil unrest and in the midst of an unpopular war. Yet for Whitney Dane—spending the summer of her twenty-first year on Martha’s Vineyard, planning a September wedding to her handsome and equally privileged fiancé—life could not be safer, nor the future more certain. Educated at Wheaton, soon to be married, and the youngest daughter of the patrician Dane family, Whitney has everything she has ever wanted, and is everything her doting father, Wall Street titan Charles Dane, wants her to be: smart, sensible, predictable. Nonetheless, Whitney’s nascent disquiet about society and her potential role in it is powerfully stimulated by the forces transforming the nation. The Vineyard’s still waters are disturbed by the appearance of Benjamin Blaine, an underprivileged, yet fiercely ambitious and charismatic figure who worked as an aide to the recently slain Bobby Kennedy. Ben’s presence accelerates Whitney’s growing intellectual independence, inspires her to question long-held truths about her family, and stirs her sexual curiosity. It also brings deep-rooted tensions within the Dane clan to a dangerous head. Soon, Whitney’s future seems far less secure, and her ideal family far more human, than she ever could have suspected. An acknowledged master of the courtroom thriller, Patterson’s Blaine trilogy, a bold and surprising departure from his past novels, is a complex family drama pulsing with the tumult of the time and “dripping with summer diversions, youthful passion and ideals, class tensions, and familial disruptions.” ( Library Journal ) From the Hardcover edition.
Text to Speech Enabled
Audience : General Adult
The day was bright and clear, and a headwind stirred his curly hair; absorbed in sailing, Ben barely seemed aware of Whitney sitting near the stern. While she did not mind the quiet, it felt as though he was playing the role of her indifferent crew. Then he finally spoke. “I wonder how many more times I’ll get to do this.”
“Because of the draft?”
Ben kept scanning the water. “Because of the war,” he said harshly. “What a pointless death that would be.”
Uneasy, Whitney thought of Peter’s safe haven in the National Guard. “You don’t believe we’re the firewall against Communism?”
His derisive smile came and went. “If you were some Vietnamese peasant, would you want to be ruled by a bunch of crooks and toadies? To win this war, we’d have to pave the entire country, then stay there for fifty years. And if we lose, what does that mean to us? That the Vietnamese are going to paddle thousand of miles across the Pacific to occupy San Francisco?”
Whitney had wondered, too. She chose to say nothing more.
The day grew muggy. Running before the wind, Ben headed toward Tarpaulin Cove, the shelter on an island little more than a sand spit. Hand on the tiller, he seemed more relaxed, his brain and sinews attuned to each shift in the breeze. It was not until they eased into the cove that Ben spoke to her again. “I brought an igloo filled with sandwiches and drinks. Think the two of us can swim it to the beach?”
Stripping down to her swimsuit, Whitney climbed down the rope ladder and began dogpaddling in the cool, invigorating water. Ben peeled off his T-shirt and dove in with the cooler, his sinewy torso glistening in the sun and water. Together, they floated it toward the shore, each paddling with one arm. At length, somewhat winded, they sat on the beach as the surf lapped at their feet. The Vineyard was barely visible; they had come a fair distance, Whitney realized, and yet the trip seemed to have swallowed time. This must be what sailing did for him.
For a time Whitney contented herself, as he did, with eating sandwiches and sipping a cool beer. Curious, she asked, “Is the war why you worked for Bobby?”