Synopses & Reviews
"Wholly original. Kate Benson is a storyteller, someone who knows how to hold the reader in suspense." --Judith Guest, author of Ordinary People
"This is the deepest, purest first novel of the year." --Edmund White
For the last nine years, Casey Maywood's life has been defined by the disappearance of her mother, a striking beauty who abandoned her family for Hollywood and the dream of becoming a star. One summer night at her small-town movie theatre, Casey meets Dex Stone, a charismatic outsider who makes her feel so free of the legacy of her mother's past that she inevitably falls for him, only to have him desert her too. In the days following Dex's departure, Casey discovers more about him that leads her to Hollywood and a world of shifting roles and secret lives that holds revealing truths about those who left her behind.
"A richly evocative, beautifully imagined, and warmly engaging novel about the mysterious spells individuals cast over one another, most potently the spell of an elusive mother. Kate Benson is a natural storyteller." --Joyce Carol Oates
Kate Benson's fiction has appeared in the Hawaii Review, the Allegheny Review, and USA Weekend. This is her first novel. She lives in Boston.
"Benson's fluent debut novel follows the bittersweet coming-of-age of Casey Maywood, whose mother, Lila, abandons her with her father in the titular Minnesota town for a chance at stardom in Hollywood. Before she vanishes in pursuit of her dream, gorgeous but unbalanced Lila shapes young Casey in her own image: a beautiful blonde dissimulator and heartbreaker. Casey always hopes Lila will return, although her father doesn't reveal that his troubled wife has sought a divorce and is likely remarried. Years later, working at a movie theater, Casey meets Dex Stone, a handsome older man from L.A. Their relationship (her first real love affair) ignites, but his abrupt death in a plane crash leaves her reeling with previously buried feelings of abandonment. At the urging of Dex's brother, Kevin, Casey flies to Hollywood to attend the funeral and search for her lost mother. Benson's first-person narrative switches back and forth from Casey's life in Two Harbors to her dizzying reinvention in Hollywood as she cavorts with Kevin and learns the truth of Dex's privileged past. Benson demonstrates capable craft, though she skirts the resolution of the mother-daughter relationship with unsubtle plotting. Agent, Alex Glass. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Benson writes with a poetic voice as passionate as it is precise." Booklist
"Moments of fine observation amid bewildering disequilibrium." Kirkus Reviews
Those who live in the isolated port town of Two Harbors, Minnesota, still remember the strange downfall of Lila Maywood a striking beauty who abandoned her family for Hollywood with dreams of becoming a movie star. Lila's disappearance has defined the life of her daughter, Casey, left with only an autographed, heart-shaped headshot of her mother. When a big-city stranger shows up in town, Casey reluctantly falls for him, only to have him desert her, too. This new abandonment brings Casey face-to-face with the legacy of her mother's past, and the possibility that her own future could follow the same course. Against her father's counsel, Casey journeys from Two Harbors to Hollywood, where she discovers a world of secret lives and shifting roles that holds revealing truths about those who left her behind.
Cinematic and suspenseful, this is the electrifying story of a daughter learning the one act her mother never mastered: letting go.
Those who live in the isolated port town of Two Harbors, Minnesota, still remember the strange downfall of Lila Maywood a striking beauty who abandoned her family for Hollywood with dreams of becoming a movie star. Lila's disappearance has defined the life of her daughter, Casey, left with only an autographed, heart-shaped head shot of her mother.
About the Author
Kate Benson's fiction has appeared in the Hawaii Review, the Allegheny Review, and USA Weekend and has been honored by Seventeen magazine and the White House Commission on Presidential Scholars. She lives in Boston. Two Harbors is her first novel.