Title: Cape May
Author: Chip Cheek
Publisher: Celadon Books
On Sale Date: 4/30/19
Formats: Hardcover, Ebook, Audio
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 New England 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.
“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!”