The Second Home by Christina Clancy

The Second Home

The Second Home by Christina Clancy
English | 2020 | General Fiction/Classics | ePUB | 2.6 MB

Some places never leave you…

After a disastrous summer spent at her family’s home on Cape Cod when she is seventeen, Ann Gordon is very happy to never visit Wellfleet again. If only she’d stayed in Wisconsin, she might never have met Anthony Shaw, and she would have held onto the future she’d so carefully planned for herself. Instead, Ann ends up harboring a devastating secret that strains her relationship with her parents, sends her sister Poppy to every corner of the world chasing waves (and her next fling), and leaves her adopted brother Michael estranged from the family.

Now, fifteen years later, her parents have died, and Ann and Poppy are left to decide the fate of the beach house that’s been in the Gordon family for generations. For Ann, the once-beloved house is forever tainted with bad memories. And while Poppy loves the old saltbox on Drummer Cove, owning a house means settling, and she’s not sure she’s ready to stay in one place.

Just when the sisters decide to sell, Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to a third of the estate. He wants the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about what happened that long-ago summer that changed all of their lives forever. As the siblings reunite after years apart, their old secrets and lies, longings and losses, are pulled to the surface. Is the house the one thing that can still bring them together–or will it tear them apart, once and for all?

Told through the shifting perspectives of Ann, Poppy, and Michael, this assured and affecting debut captures the ache of nostalgia for summers past and the powerful draw of the places we return to again and again. It is about second homes, second families, and second chances. Tender and compassionate, incisive and heartbreaking, The Second Home is the story of a family you’ll quickly fall in love with, and won’t soon forget.

Ann opened the door to the “blue room,” the bedroom she’d always shared with Poppy. The twin beds, covered in the ancient crochet bedcovers, stuck out from the wall like piano keys. The room had once been a parlor. When they were kids and they’d finally arrived for the summer, Poppy would bolt out of the station wagon, run inside, and throw herself on her creaky old spring mattress, clinging to it like a life raft. “We’re back!” Ann’s great-grandmother had died in this room the same day she was born, which was how she had escaped being named after a flower herself.

She could glimpse Drummer Cove through the wavy lead glass in the window. After the railroad dike was built in the late 1800s, the cove began to fill in with silt deposited with every high tide. When the tide emptied out, it left a mudflat with the consistency of quicksand. Real quicksand, the stuff of fairy tales and nightmares. The cove was a place where boats had been marooned, deer got stuck, and dolphins were stranded. Dead horseshoe crabs littered the edges. Ann hardly ever visited the cove now that she was an adult. The tall beach grass was thick with ticks, and the damp hay path was always squishy from the last high tide. She wouldn’t dare swim in that muck. Still, Ann thought the cove was pretty to look at. It smelled like rotten eggs at low tide, but that was a smell she loved in the same primal way that she’d loved the smell of Noah’s sweet bald head when he was a baby. She’d roll down her car windows as soon as she got to Blackfish Creek and wait for the odor to hit her. When it did, every molecule in her body seemed to change. That’s when she knew she was really there, on the “real” part of the Cape.

She walked back into the living room and pulled down the writing desk of her late grandmother’s beloved antique secretary. She rummaged through the contents of the delicate little drawers, finding only yellowed cash register receipts, nail clippers, and kite string. She lifted the piles of paperwork in the larger cubbies—just old New Yorkers, bills from the plumber that could have been thrown away years ago, and there, on the bottom, some old crayon drawings Noah had made when he was little, the words “I love you Nana” in his sweet, sloppy capital letters. It amazed her, all the fresh new ways her heart could break.

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