Title: Cape May
Author: Chip Cheek
Publisher: Celadon Books
ISBN: 978-1-250-297-150
On Sale Date: 4/30/19
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook, Audio

Cape May

By Chip Cheek

A mesmerizing debut novel by Chip Cheek, Cape May explores the social and sexual mores of 1950s America through the eyes of a newly married couple from the genteel south corrupted by sophisticated urbanites.

October 1957. Henry and Effie, very young newlyweds from Georgia, arrive in Cape May, New Jersey, for their honeymoon only to find the town is deserted. Feeling shy of each other and isolated, they decide to cut the trip short. But before they leave, they meet a glamorous set of people who sweep them up into their drama. Clara, a beautiful socialite who feels her youth slipping away; Max, a wealthy playboy and Clara’s lover; and Alma, Max’s aloof and mysterious half-sister, to whom Henry is irresistibly drawn.

The empty beach town becomes their playground, and as they sneak into abandoned summer homes, go sailing, walk naked under the stars, make love, and drink a great deal of gin, Henry and Effie slip from innocence into betrayal, with irrevocable consequences.

Erotic and moving, this is a novel about marriage, love and sexuality, and the lifelong repercussions that meeting a group of debauched cosmopolitans has on a new marriage.

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Book Excerpt

“Come in, come in—Jesus!” the woman demanded, as if to scold them for not arriving sooner, and led them across a wide foyer into a bright living area that looked out through a bank of windows onto a lush patio and swimming pool. The shadowy look of the house from the outside was a disguise for the brightness inside. It seemed to Henry like an enchantment.

“We can only stay a minute,” Effie said. “We were just on our way to dinner.”

“I can’t believe it’s you,” Clara said, stopping to appraise her. “How long has it been? Five, six years? A lifetime? Who is this?” She placed her hand at the small of Henry’s back. When Effie told her he was her husband, the woman gasped—she had never heard of anything so marvelous—and gripped his hand firmly, painfully. “My God, how do you do? I’m Clara—Clara!”

Quotes

  • What a treat. Glamorous and nostalgic and very sexy, Cape May is a novel about marriage, lust, shabby seaside towns and lots of gin. Brilliantly unsettling—one of those books that stays with you.

    Paula Hawkins #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Girl on the Train
  • Earthy and sensual, raw and real, Cape May is an exquisitely crafted exploration of young love, the power of desire, and the lifelong ramifications of choices made in an instant. Cheek’s virtuosic prose reads like a modern classic, piercing through the veneer of male sexual fantasies of the 1950s and rendering a heartbreaking portrait of a man—and a marriage—undone by betrayal.

    Whitney Scharer Author of The Age of Light
  • Cape May is a perfectly mixed cocktail of beauty, desire, and heady desperation. In his gorgeous debut novel, Chip Cheek offers his readers a portrait of mid-century America and the timeless allure of love on the rocks.

    Bret Anthony Johnston Author of Corpus Christi and internationally bestselling Remember Me Like This
  • Cheek’s glamorous and nostalgic first novel is an atmospheric tale of sexual longing and loss in 1950s America that nods to classics like The Great Gatsby and Revolutionary Road.

    The Independent
  • If you can’t get enough of women’s fiction novels with a twist, Cape May will be your perfect book club read.

    Parade
  • Cheek’s strong debut is a psychodrama that shows just how easily people can be manipulated. Cheek does a good job with his cast; Henry and Effie are finely drawn and their slide from innocence starkly depicted. The novel’s ending is particularly startling—a memorable final note in this cogent examination of marital infidelity and betrayal.

    Publishers Weekly
  • This remarkable debut novel offers a sobering reminder of how the possibilities of life, when first encountered, often carry their own riptide.

    Booklist, Starred Review
  • Chip Cheek
    Chip Cheek Author

    Chip Cheek’s stories have appeared in The Southern Review , Harvard Review , Washington Square , and other journals and anthologies. He has been awarded scholarships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, the Tin House Summer Writers’ Workshop, and the Vermont Studio Center, as well as an Emerging Artist Award from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. He lives in El Segundo, California, with his wife and baby daughter.

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