Nick and her cousin Helena have grown up together, sharing long hot summers at Tiger House. With husbands and children of their own, they keep returning. But against a background of parties, cocktails, moonlight and jazz, how long can perfection last? There is always the summer that changes everything.
Like Judy I too have high praise for Tigers In Red Weather. This fantastic novel put me in mind of The Great Gatsby, in its story about seemingly endless, languorous days of the super-rich as they while away the long hot summers, all parties, sex, and fun. Which then leads to disillusionment, madness, and tragedy.
Liza Klaussmann is apparently a great fan of F Scott Fitzgerald and his influence is obvious in this, her first book. It is an incredibly accomplished and ambitious tale, and I relished every page.
an incredibly accomplished and ambitious tale
Judy writes of how the delicious sun-filled summers at Tiger House edge into the ‘60s, all the while darkness gradually descending on the lives of cousins Nick and Helena. By now, both have children; Nick’s daughter, Daisy, is a golden girl, but like Helena she is slightly jealous and mistrustful of her brilliant mother, who always seems to get her own way.
Helena’s teenage son, Ed, a couple of years older than Daisy, is a complex character, clearly a troubled soul. He is, in fact, deeply screwed up; obsessed with sex in a very dark way. This is because of his abnormal relationship with his father, a man of secret sexual proclivities. But his only interest in his wife is to get his hands on not her – but the family money.
Then, during one 1950’s summer at Martha’s Vinyard, Ed and Daisy find the corpse of a young woman. She was maid to a local family. This dreadful discovery will mark the beginning of the end of Nick and Helena’s golden years. And it’s also the point where Ed, already a boy with macabre tendencies, begins to finally unravel as the story reaches its deeply disturbing conclusion.
Tigers In Red Weather is sensational; an absolutely perfect beach or poolside summer read.
This is Liza Klaussmann’s first novel, and what a brilliant story it is.
It opens in New England just after the second world war. Nick Derringer, a stylishly glamorous young wartime bride, is sharing clinky drinks (almost always gin) with her cousin Helena, an equally-young wartime widow. Nick is excited about the imminent return of her husband, Hughes, who is serving in the US Army in Britain.
what a brilliant story it is
Widow Helena, on the other hand, is about to re-marry in Hollywood. Her fiancé, Avery, is a distinctly shady character of whom Nick disapproves.
Both women are descendants of very rich grandparents, who built a wonderfully luxurious holiday home in Martha’s Vineyard, called ‘Tiger House’. This is where most of the book is set, as the cousins spend idyllic hot summers on the island throughout the ‘40s, ‘50s, and ‘60s. These days are lingering and sensual, with wonderful cocktail parties, endless martinis by the beach, and Nick’s beloved jazz records.
At first, reunited with Hughes, and living near his army base in Florida (heat and sun pervade this novel – you almost feel like taking a cooling shower) Nick is the girl who has ‘It’, or sex appeal. She’s not exactly beautiful, but very attractive, and both men and women are hugely drawn to her.
Helena, now living in Hollywood with Avery, is deeply unhappy. Avery has hopeless ambitions to be a movie mogul and treats his new wife appallingly, constantly making her take tranquillisers to keep her subdued and thus make his life easier.
But Nick’s days are darkening too and, as the decadent decades roll by, a sinister element invades all their lives.
This wonderful summer read reminds me of one of my favourite books – Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. I can think of no higher praise.
WHSmith Bonus Content for Tigers In Red Weather
Other 2013 Summer Book Club Titles
- The Girl Who Fell From The Sky by Simon Mawer
- The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman
- The Sea Sisters by Lucy Clarke
- This Is How It Ends by Kathleen MacMahon
- The Age Of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker
- The Sea Change by Joanna Rossiter
- Natural Causes by James Oswald
- Close My Eyes by Sophie McKenzie
- The Universe Versus Alex Woods by Gavin Extence