In brief: A weekend house party on Nantucket to secure a business changes the participants’ lives forever.
The good: It’s a fascinating look at human nature and just when you thought you couldn’t be surprised again…pow!
The not-so-good: It was a really busy week and I didn’t get to devour this as quickly as I would have liked.
Why I chose it: Sounded very interesting, plus the cover is pure summer. Thanks to Ventura Press for the copy.
Publisher: Ventura Press
Setting: Nantucket, USA
My rating: 9 out of 10
When I was sent the blurb for Nantucket, it immediately grabbed my attention. When I think of Nantucket, I think of American summers and that scent by Crabtree & Evelyn. Then I saw that the author Harrison Young is the director of one of Australia’s biggest banks (Commonwealth) and I thought this this could be a very interesting, high-flying business kind of read. I’m all for people doing something completely different from their job in their spare time (hey, that’s why my blog exists) and I thought the book would be a nice summer read.
But, wow! Don’t dismiss this as something light and sweet. Nantucket is an ever surprising story of the complexities of human relationships, which become even more so when sex, power and money come to the forefront. The premise sounds simple – an investment banker invites two billionaires to his summer home in Nantucket in the hope of brokering a massive deal but when you’re dealing with people (and rich ones at that), everything can go wrong. It’s sexy and full of surprises – no page of this book is boring. Nantucket demonstrates that Harrison Young has an incredible insight into what makes people tick (and agree to deals).
Andrew is the main character, the investment banker. He needs this deal to impress his ‘technical boss’, which will bring two kings of business together. Joe is a brash American billionaire with a famous journalist as a wife, while Shiva is an Indian prince. He’s planned everything with his wife Cathy to make sure the deal is done. But in just 15 seconds, the plans begin to go awry – Cathy has gone away unexpectedly, but her companion Sally is happy to pretend to be her. Does Andrew agree? Of course he does and the games begin. From the very start the weekend rumbles with a sexual undercurrent, which increases to fever pitch as some unexpected guests come to stay, a game is played and everyone’s carefully controlled presentation to the world begins to melt away.
I think it’s quite obvious that I really enjoyed this book, particularly the number of surprises sprung on the reader! Just when you thought things couldn’t get any more complex or astonishing, there is a plot twist that adds another layer of complexity. My only regret would be that I read this book during a week of evening meetings and Christmas parties so I didn’t get to read it in large greedy chunks. The characterisation is brilliant, as each reveal, while shocking, does fit in with the character’s motives and personality. I loved all the characters, but I particularly enjoyed reading about Sally (a woman with a mysterious background who knows how to get a party started), Janis (a very practical young lady) and Rosemary (who knows how to broker a deal). While Nantucket could be called racy or sexy, it’s never gratuitous or sleazy. It reveals more about human relationships and deep desires by hinting rather than giving a detailed blow to blow account. It’s a sophisticated and stylish read.
Harrison Young is an author to watch. He has two other novels available, Submission and Partners, which I’ll definitely be tracking down. I hope he has a busy schedule in 2016 which gives him plenty of aeroplane time to write!