The book highlights the world that exists (and that will continue to exist) between the rich and the poor, the ordinary and the super-sophisticated. Mainly due to their inherited wealth and years of not knowing what it is to not have we have the Winslow family on the one hand, almost aristocratic as far as aristocracy and autocracy could go in America and plain and simple Mabel who just wants to belong. Who yearns to have the sense of belonging to one particular sphere which the Winslow children all seem to take for granted.
Mabel and Ev are dorm-mates at university. That too by the maneuverings of Ev's mother who vetted whoever her children were associating with. She saw the neediness of Mabel just the correct antidote for her daughter and set things in motion accordingly. Ev's parents are manipulative, rich, controlling and her father in particular has traits that you wouldn't wish on anyone.
The manipulative nature of the parents have not missed a generation. Ev in her own way is equal to them all and knows exactly which button to push to put Mabel on the spot and doing exactly the things she wants. Mabel on the other hand is the other extreme of naivety - she is so taken up by the Winslow clan, their riches, the ease of life that exists that for a long time she lives in a world where everything is rosy.
It is only when the brutal facts of rape, murder and pushing everything under the carpet which is the norm for the Winslow family (as they have been doing for generations) becomes apparent that Mabel comes awake to the fact that this is not quite right. She also realizes that in families such as this, however nice they are to her face, she is still a rank outsider and they will close ranks against her viciously and nastily. Will Mabel have the courage to overcome her feelings to come clean about the nasty secrets harboured by this family.
This was a book which I got through Blogging for Books. A very different read from the other books I read this last week.