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The Miltons are a powerful old New York family - the kind of family that used to run the world. And in 1935, they still do. Kitty and Ogden Milton seem to have it all- an elegant apartment on the Upper East Side, two beautiful little boys, a love everyone envies. When a tragedy befalls them, Ogden comforts Kitty the only way he knows how - they go sailing, picnic on a small island off the coast of Maine, and buy it.
For generations the Miltons of Crockett Island revel in a place that is entirely their own. But it's 1959, and the world is changing- Ogden's firm hire a Jewish man, Len Levy, who earns the admiration of not only his boss, but his boss's beautiful young daughter. When Len and his friend visit the island, the Milton's principles and prejudices are challenged like never before.
At the dawn of the 21st century, the family money has run dry, and the island is up for sale. Returning for one last visit, Kitty's granddaughter uncovers disturbing evidence about her family's wealth - and realizes she is on the verge of finally understanding the silences that seemed to hover just below the surface of her family all her life.
Sarah Blake lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, the poet Josh Weiner, and their two sons.
This powerful family saga...is potent and mesmerizing Publishers Weekly The story of the Miltons engages not just with history and politics, but with the poetry of the physical world. This novel sets out to be more than a juicy family saga?it aims to depict the moral evolution of a part of American society. Its convincing characters and muscular narrative succeed on both counts Kirkus Reviews, starred review Beautifully crafted....The Milton family history, rife with secrets and moral failings, including a deep-seated bigotry, is a timely tale of America itself. An enveloping and moving page-turner People, Book of the Week Epic and sweeping, without ever leaving behind the personal and profound, The Guest Book is a reminder of what novels do better than anything else. Without losing their specificity, three generations of Milton women reveal something about every family, the secrets and unspoken truths that color everything that happens to us. This is a book you will be dying to talk to someone about -- Arthur Phillips, author of 'The Tragedy of Arthur' and 'Prague' The Guest Book is not only an exploration of the past, but a prophecy of the future. It illuminates a lost world with a brilliance that is neither nostalgic nor sentimental as it leads its characters, as well as the reader, to new and disturbing discoveries about prejudice and privilege. Sarah Blake's understanding of private life at a certain time in America and within a certain class gives us an incisive history of manners and morals, with the understanding that the survival of the spirit, no matter the time, depends upon endurance, tolerance, and solitary grief. -- Susanna Moore, author of 'The Life of Objects' I loved The Guest Book. Sarah Blake has managed the extraordinary feat of writing both an intimate family saga and an ambitious excavation of the subterranean currents of race, class, and power that have shaped America. This is a vivid, transporting novel, written by a master conjuror of time and place. -- Jessica Shattuck, New York Times bestselling author of 'The Women in the Castle' Sarah Blake's powerful, beautifully written story portrays a couple's secret choices that come to haunt succeeding generations. The Guest Book is richly atmospheric and morally compelling in a way that stirs the mind long after the last page. -- Nancy Horan, author of 'Loving Frank' and 'Under the Wide and Starry Sky' The Guest Book is monumental in a way that few novels dare attempt. Washington Post I was totally swept away by this beautiful, engrossing, ultimately heartbreaking family saga -- Rachel Rhys, author of 'Dangerous Crossing' and 'Fatal Inheritance' Sarah Blake is such a beautiful writer she can make any world shimmer, but The Guest Book is particularly fascinating. An intergenerational exploration of memory, identity, love, and family loyalty, of what it costs to inherit a name, a place, and a difficult alignment with history. Powerful and provocative storytelling. -- Paula McLain, bestselling author of 'The Paris Wife'