Thriller author Patterson ventures into mainstream waters with mixed results in this follow-up to 2012’s Fall from Grace, the second entry in a projected trilogy. In June 1968, 21-year-old Whitney Dane, a child of privilege, is looking forward to her September wedding to Peter Brooks, her socially suitable college sweetheart, on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., where her family has a summer house. Whitney anticipates having the picture-perfect marriage of her proper parents, but the times are a-changin’, and things do not go as planned. Early one late June morning, after a swim in the ocean, Whitney encounters Benjamin Blaine, a college dropout who grew up on the island and worked for Robert Kennedy’s presidential campaign. Readers will know that poor Whitney will never be the same after meeting Ben, whose “angular frame, taller than Peter’s, suggested litheness and grace even when still.” The plot meanders along without surprise until a few shockers are thrown in toward the end. The result resembles nothing so much as a minor John O’Hara book, concerned, as that author’s work usually was, with notions of class, personal and political change, and, most of all, heartbreak. First printing of 150,000. Agent: Cullen Stanley, Janklow & Nesbit Associates. (Oct.)
"Loss of Innocence will tell you more about the turbulent summer of 1968 than most history books will."Providence Journal
"Wealthy, WASPY and protected, Whitney Dane lives a life of privilege under the seemingly benevolent patriarchy of her powerful father. At the family summer home on Martha's Vineyard, political violence and anti-war protests seem far away. But in the course of the season, cracks open in her closest relationships, exposing rot and darkness within and linking Whitney to the larger issues of race, class and corruption that roil the country. Richard North Patterson has created a richly textured romance, deftly set amid the seismic social shifts of 1968."Geraldine Brooks, author of Caleb's Crossing
"Loss of Innocence, second of a projected trilogy, is the compelling account of a family's collapse amid multiple betrayals in the bloody year 1968. The book moves at high velocity, is grandly plotted with a crescendo of an ending. This is Richard North Patterson at the top of his game."Ward Just, author of An Unfinished Season and Rodin's Debutante
"Loss of Innocence is an extraordinary novelprofound, emotionally involving and totally addictive. This may be Richard North Patterson's best work: surprising and different, yet with the same ability to penetrate the minds of othersespecially women, which is a rare gift."Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles
"Loss of Innocence is a stunning tour de force by one of my favorite novelists. This coming-of-age story electrifies with the authenticity of the Sixtiesthe sex, politics, language, mores and music. And Martha's Vineyard, with its heartbreaking beauty, is the ideal setting for an engrossing drama of a so-called perfect family riven by its secrets. Richard North Patterson, always brilliant, is better than ever."Linda Fairstein, author of The Deadhouse
"A snapshot of America at a pivotal moment in history, and a beautifully written coming-of-age novel."Lady Antonia Fraser, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Must You Go?
"Set in the summer and fall of a pivotal year in American history, 1968... Patterson's latest offers up an appealing family drama set against the backdrop of a radically tumultuous and influential time."Kristine Huntley, Booklist
"Patterson's family drama thrives on the expected... Patterson writes a family saga of class and money, power and pretense, love and loyalty. Think The Thorn Birds or Rich Man, Poor Man among the Martha's Vineyard moneyed set."...
"Like male novelists of the Nineteenth century, Richard North Patterson actually looks at the world through a woman's eyes. He tells us the story of a girl born into a derived identity, and her path toward who she is and what she wants. In one life of the 1960s, he symbolizes a movement that keeps changing all our lives."Gloria Steinem, author of Revolution from Within
"At a time when the -60s are often vilified, Richard North Patterson revisits that era in this terrific new novel and reminds us that it was a time of moral awakening. Set in 1968, Loss of Innocence tells the story of a young woman's discovery of the true meaning of freedom. Moving into new territory with this coming-of-age novel, Patterson is a great storyteller."Carol Gilligan, author of Kyra and In Other Voices
"A title that is dripping with summer diversions, youthful passion and ideals, class tensions, and familial disruptions makes for wonderful reading whatever the season."Library Journal (starred)
Patterson's (Fall from Grace, 2012, etc.) second effort in a planned trilogy continues his foray into personal drama and away from geopolitical intrigue and suspense. In this prequel to the first novel, linked by prologue and epilogue, the narrative dives into the angst and anger of one-percenters, focusing on the family Dane. Rich-girl Whitney Dane has graduated from Wheaton, and she's at the Dane summer home on Martha's Vineyard planning her September wedding to Peter Brooks, a from-the-right-kind-of-family Dartmouth graduate newly employed at her father's financial firm. It's June 1968, and so it's good that the senior Dane has the influence to secure for Peter a National Guard spot to keep him out of Vietnam. However, at the edge of Whitney's consciousness lingers a hazy doubt: Will she be satisfied as helpmate? Then young Benjamin Blaine, Vineyard native, returns home. Ben dropped out of Yale to work as a Bobby Kennedy gofer. Shattered by Kennedy's assassination, Ben's adrift and in peril of the draft. Whitney and Ben meet. Ben saves Whitney from drowning. To couch events in '60s vernacular, Ben raises Whitney's class consciousness. Ben then clashes with Peter and Dane senior. Loyalties are tested. Relationships fracture. Betrayals ensue. World turned upside down, Whitney reasons herself free of "the carelessness of privilege." Patterson name-drops--William Styron, Dustin Hoffmann, Richard Nixon--and mentions good things--"a snifter of Armagnac on the open-air porch--a 1923 Laberdolive from Gascony." Characters are clichéd, but Patterson's family drama thrives on the expected: Charles Dane, controlling, manipulative; Anne Dane, all tradition and pretense; Whitney's sister Janine, a fashion model trapped in addiction after a failed love affair; rich-girl Clarice, Whitney's lifelong friend, openness disguising an ugly secret; boy-in-a-man's-world Peter, attentive, thoughtful. Patterson writes a family saga of class and money, power and pretense, love and loyalty. Think The Thorn Birds or Rich Man, Poor Man among the Martha's Vineyard moneyed set.