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Beverly-Whittemore captures both the idyllic beauty of a Vermont summer and its dark shadows in her third novel (after The Effects of Light; Set Me Free). Plain featured and plainly named scholarship student Mabel Dagmar catches the intermittent interest of her wealthy college roommate, Genevra "Ev" Winslow. In one moment of weakness, Ev invites Mabel to spend the summer at the Winslow family estate, Winloch. Intended as a distraction to allow Ev more freedom, Mabel takes to Winloch immediately, befriending Ev's sister and eccentric aunt, and developing a romance with Ev's brother, Galway, after an unfortunate first encounter. But at Winloch, reality is not always what it first appears to be, and gothic tangles wind the plot more and more tightly. Mabel, an inveterate secret keeper herself, uncovers the truth behind the Winslow fortune. But should she share what she knows, or adjust her moral center and keep it "in the family" so that she can take her place there as well? VERDICT A slightly wordy but suspenseful tale of corruption and bad behavior among wealthy New Englanders. Readers who enjoy coming-of-age stories featuring dark secrets that affect generations will find much that appeals here.—Melanie Kindrachuk, Stratford P.L., Ont.