Dune Road is sort of predictable and also very familiar. Perhaps because my brother works in finance, lives in Easton, Conn. with four young children (two girls and twin three-year-old boys) and is very successful. Or maybe because my family went through similar financial situations in the 90s. I also grew up in Westport, Conn (fictional Highfield) until my parents divorced. (My mom read the book after me and said: “I feel like I’m right back in Westport.”) Instead of some of the simpler, romantic stories of past novels (Mr. Maybe, Swapping Lives), Dune Road has too many subplots at once.
Recently divorced Kit (who used to be a dissatisfied “Wall Street Widow”: I actually wish Green had explained this term a bit more because New York Magazine certainly does not) embarks on her new life in Highfield, a rather chic town on Connecticut’s Gold Coast, as a working mom who still harbors feelings for her ex-husband Adam. She starts a new job as a personal assistant to famous mystery writer Robert McClore, who lives in a secluded home on Dune Road. Of course, he has a secret (a 30-something-year-old one). Kit’s best friend Charlie and her husband Keith face the aftermath of Wall Street’s bust when Keith loses his high-level finance position. Something that really bothered me about this is that although Keith works in the finance industry, his own financial advisor told him that he didn’t need to have any savings. So they have never quite managed to put anything away. They are only forty, after all, and his financial advisor said he has plenty of time to worry about that. They have small SEP IRAs, and of course he has had his stock over all these years. Super financial advisor! Well done.
As all this is going on, several mysterious people are charming their way into Kit’s life. She’s gullible and doesn’t suspect that most want more than friendship. (Kit has always secretly longed to be the type of woman men bought flowers for, and having never been that woman, not really, she is starting to discover jus how seductive it is.) So much for that edginess she may have developed as the wife of a Wall Street financier.
Throughout the pages of Dune Road, way too much happens simultaneously. I felt that much of the book was a re-tread of stories in the news or things I’d heard before. Green is trying for a mystery and romance in one book and it just doesn’t work very well. I had one ‘mystery’ figured out at pg. 160 (I don’t know if that means I’m super smart or the writing is weak). Dune Road is not a page turner which is generally what you expect of a Green novel and what most people look for in a summer read. Green fails to create characters that you care about all that much in the end. Save your money on this one. Borrow Dune Road from the library or from a friend.