I’m all about Gasby-esque books lately. Maybe it’s because the movie remake is coming out soon. Or, maybe it’s because its been a lazy, hot summer. Regardless, when I started reading Tigers in Red Weather, I lapped up the sensuous and luxurious story that Liz Klaussen shares with us readers. Even on the book jacket the words stroked the mind,
Nick and her Cousin Helena grew up with sultry summer heat, sun-bleached docks, pristine tennis whites, and midnight gin parties at Tiger House.
Doesn’t that sentence just make you want to kick off your heels, grab a gin fizz and dance under the stars?
Tigers in Red Weather begins in the days after WW2. Two cousins, Nick and Helena, are embarking on the beginning of their post-war lives. The young women grew up together, spending their summers at Tiger House, their family’s estate on Martha’s Vineyard. But, while Nick grew up in the big house surrounded by wealth and privilege, Helena was raised in less fortunate conditions, and stayed in a small cottage on the property. While the two were closer than sisters, they never really overcame the emotional barriers that their circumstances created. As they grew up, Nick developed into a dark, thin and quirky woman, while Helena became a buxom Hollywood bombshell. While Nick struggled with marriage and being dependent on a man, all Helena wanted was a husband and children. The story follows the women through the years-their happinesses, misunderstandings, disastrous decisions, and relationships-all set in the backgrounds of Boston, Los Angeles, Florida, and magical Martha’s Vineyard.
What I liked: The writing was light and witty, yet stylistic and heavy with the language of the time. The novel was written from multiple viewpoints, providing the reader with differing perspectives on each time period. Klaussen was truly able to capture each of the unique voices of the characters, while still creating seamless transitions. I’ve always wanted to go visit Martha’s Vineyard, so I was totally hooked on the descriptions of the New England scenery, lifestyle, and people. I loved the and the quirkiness of the characters. I feel that the author truly captured an era in this novel. It was evocative (but not derivative) of F.Scott Fitzgerald’s classic with it’s themes of money as a divider, what happiness means, and fallen dreams.
What I didn’t like: That it was over…. That I wasn’t there…. That I never got to meet Nick (I confess that I liked her much more than Helena).
Recommend Factor: 8/10 (may be more of a woman’s book; it’s slightly whimsical, if heavy, if that even makes sense.)
Unputdownable Factor: 10/10 (While curiosity killed the cat, I couldn’t wait to get through this meaty story, yet was sad when it was done.)
Words to describe Tigers in Red Weather: Lusty, evocative, elegant, stylish, dreamy