Not Beatrice. Beatriz. So cosmopolitan. Just like the people in her books.
This afternoon I finished Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams. Tiny is Christina “Tiny” Hardcastle, wife of gleaming young Kennedy-esque politico Frank Hardcastle who looks, talks and acts like it’s just a matter of time before he’s campaigning for the White House. First, though, is a stint in the House of Representatives, and with his family connections and Tiny by his side it’s practically a done deal.
It’s Camelot. Football games along the Cape Cod shore. Cocktails. Dinners. Speeches. Why is Tiny so uninspired? Turns out there’s a Sir Lancelot in the wings. And get this. It’s her husband’s cousin.
Whose name is Caspian(where does Beatriz get these names, anyway?), a Vietnam War hero who Williams created as a hunky linebacker type against Hardcastle’s dashing, silver-tongued sophisticate.
The year is 1966. Or 1964, the year Tiny meets Caspian. Chapters go back and forth across the two-year period with Tiny and Caspian giving us their version of events past and present, from their first meeting and fast friendship to an intimate entanglement neither can ever reveal. In the present Tiny is part of the Hardcastle political machine and rarely sees her husband. Caspian has returned from Vietnam to help his cousin campaign, so there’s tension and confusion aplenty. Tiny shuffles around the family beach compound feeling lost and disconnected until her sister Pepper arrives (again with the names).
Pepper is the second of three Schuyler sisters. The third, Vivian, is happily married. Here’s an interesting footnote. Williams has now devoted a book to each sister, which I never discovered until I started doing some research for this post. Her first, The Secret Life of Violet Grant, is about Vivian. Tiny’s story followed and now, coming soon, is Pepper’s story, Along the Infinite Sea.
Beatriz is one clever and prolific writer. I enjoyed the time, the places and the players here, so of course I’m going to go back and read about Vivian. Or maybe I should stick with Pepper. Her life wasn’t exactly going as planned. With as much beauty and charm as her sister Tiny, Pepper is bold and brash and now, in a little bit of trouble. That’s all I’m sayin’.
I’ve got one sister down. Two to go. If you like beach reading in the middle of autumn, I’d recommend any of these stories about the Schuyler trio. And I don’t really think it matters where you start. Each sister is as stunning and perplexed (that’s what I’m presuming) and as full of secrets as the other.
Beatriz, congrats. I’m hooked.