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The Second Home

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Some places never leave you...

After a disastrous summer spent at her family’s home on Cape Cod when she is seventeen, Ann Gordon is very happy to never visit Wellfleet again. If only she’d stayed in Wisconsin, she might never have met Anthony Shaw, and she would have held onto the future she’d so carefully planned for herself. Instead, Ann ends up harboring a devastating secret that strains her relationship with her parents, sends her sister Poppy to every corner of the world chasing waves (and her next fling), and leaves her adopted brother Michael estranged from the family.

Now, fifteen years later, her parents have died, and Ann and Poppy are left to decide the fate of the beach house that’s been in the Gordon family for generations. For Ann, the once-beloved house is forever tainted with bad memories. And while Poppy loves the old saltbox on Drummer Cove, owning a house means settling, and she’s not sure she’s ready to stay in one place.

Just when the sisters decide to sell, Michael re-enters their lives with a legitimate claim to a third of the estate. He wants the house. But more than that, he wants to set the record straight about what happened that long-ago summer that changed all of their lives forever. As the siblings reunite after years apart, their old secrets and lies, longings and losses, are pulled to the surface. Is the house the one thing that can still bring them together––or will it tear them apart, once and for all?

Told through the shifting perspectives of Ann, Poppy, and Michael, this assured and affecting debut captures the ache of nostalgia for summers past and the powerful draw of the places we return to again and again. It is about second homes, second families, and second chances. Tender and compassionate, incisive and heartbreaking, Christina Clancy's The Second Home is the story of a family you'll quickly fall in love with, and won't soon forget.

341 pages, Hardcover

First published June 2, 2020

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About the author

Christina Clancy

2 books506 followers
Christina Clancy is the author of Shoulder Season and The Second Home (optioned by Sony TriStar for a limited series starring Nicolaj Coster-Waldau from Game of Thrones). Her short stories and essays have appeared in The New York Times "Modern Love" column, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Sun Magazine, and in literary journals like Glimmer Train Stories, Hobart, Pleiades, The Minnesota Review and on Wisconsin Public Radio. She has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Born in Denver and raised in Milwaukee, she currently live in Madison, Wisconsin and spends time in East Troy and Palm Springs.

You can find out more on her website, http://www.christiclancywrites.com

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5 stars
1,136 (21%)
4 stars
2,344 (43%)
3 stars
1,516 (28%)
2 stars
303 (5%)
1 star
77 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,207 reviews
Profile Image for Paromjit.
2,500 reviews24.5k followers
February 1, 2020
Christina Clancy writes a family drama with some very dark elements, featuring the Gordon family from Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with parents Ed and Connie, their teen daughters, Ann and Poppy,and their late adopted son, Michael. They spend their summers at Cape Cod at a family home and 15 years ago, they experienced a troubling and traumatic summer of raging teen hormones that is to have devastating consequences and repercussions on all of them. In the present, the parents have died in a dreadful car accident, and decisions have to be made about that home. Neither Ann or Poppy can afford to keep it on and decide to sell it, only to have a spanner put in the works out of the blue.

Michael, who has not been in touch for so long, comes back into their lives, making a claim on the estate. He wants to keep the house, and more than anything he wants the truth of what actually happened that despairing and distressing summer to come out. There are machinations over the will, and in a narrative that goes back and forth in time, the question that hangs over the siblings is can they come to terms with what happened sufficiently for them to have a future as family? Clancy gives us a gloriously vivid sense of location in her descriptions in this story of teen siblings ill equipped to handle what occurs to them, too naive and trusting. I did find her characters a little difficult to invest in, and Ann herself is not the most likeable of people.

This is a complex, fraught, full of intrigue read of family dynamics, blackmail, abuse, trust, rape, trauma, poor teen decision making and sibling relationships. This will appeal to those who enjoy their twisted family dramas set in a fabulous location. Many thanks to St Martin's Press for an ARC.
Profile Image for Katie B.
1,226 reviews2,932 followers
January 31, 2020
3.5 stars

I'm always up for a book that revolves around some long-standing family drama. This story held my interest but I wouldn't say that I loved any of the characters. That's okay though because that's not really a requirement for me to enjoy a book. I do wish that lack of communication which was an ongoing theme wouldn't have been so prevalent in the story. I think that's part of the reason I became frustrated with just about every character in the book.

Ann Gordon is back at the Cape Cod home she spent her summers at while she was growing up. Her parents have recently died and she has been tasked with selling their summer home as neither she nor her sister, Poppy, can afford to keep it. Her adopted brother, Michael, hasn't been in contact with the family in years and when he tries to claim he has rights to the home, it doesn't go over well with Ann. You see something pretty major happened about 15 years ago when they were teenagers that caused a huge rift in the family. It's not a cliche to say things were never the same after that particular summer on the Cape. The story follows Ann, Poppy, and Michael during that fateful summer and the present day when they are reunited. Hmm... family members that aren't on good terms and now you throw in a disagreement about a house. Yes, there is going to be some drama in this story, that's for sure.

For much of the book I thought Poppy was an unnecessary character to include but by the end I did think she brought something to the table. As I mentioned before it was easy to feel frustration when some characters make certain decisions. It's like I wanted to reach thru the pages, grab them by the shoulders, shake them, and yell, "what are you doing?'. However, despite my varying levels of annoyance with some of the characters, I still felt invested enough to want to see how everything would play out in the end.

There are two random things I really loved that the author included in the story. I was happy to see a couple Polish references, and my guess is if she can name drop Polish Falcons, she must have some Polish blood in her like I do. The other thing I liked was at the end of Part One there was a good joke about the parents. I gotta tell you it was 100% necessary as it really had been driving me nuts how naive and oblivious the parents were when it came to the kids. The joke at least acknowledged this fact which helped ease my frustration.

There were a few times the author kinda glossed over something I thought could have been covered more thoroughly. While I liked the story, it could have used some polishing up a bit in order to really take it to a higher level. I still consider it a good read though. If you are interested in reading this one, be prepared, there are some dark moments in the story. If you are strictly looking for a lighthearted read, I would look elsewhere.

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

Profile Image for Carole.
488 reviews104 followers
July 24, 2020
The Second Home by Christina Clancy is an interesting beach or cottage read, perfect to pass the time while social distancing. Ann, Poppy and Michael are teenage siblings who spent their summer holidays with their parents on Cape Cod at their Wellfleet summer home. The novel gives the perspective of each of them throughout. Something went horribly wrong one summer that caused the adolescents to disperse in all directions, never to return to Wellfleet. After the parents were killed in a car accident many years later, the adult siblings returned to the Cape to dispose of their second home. They had been haunted by what had happened there one summer and are uncertain about their relationships. Will they separate again? Or will they bond again as they had when they were younger? Will the past interfere with their future? Thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader.
2,051 reviews30k followers
June 8, 2020
My Kind of People, by Lisa Duffy, which I read and loved last month was set in on a fictitious island much like Cape Cod. The Second Home took me back to Cape Cod, and I loved it!

As a teen, Ann spends a traumatic summer in Cape Cod at her family’s vacation home. It causes a divide in her family between her and her siblings.

In the present, her parents have passed away, and fifteen years later, Ann and her sister need to decide what to do with the family’s Cape Cod home. The sisters decide to sell, but their brother reappears wants to keep the home. The siblings are forced together at this time, and they have to decide if they are still a family.

I’ve said it many times; I love a sibling story and a family saga. The characters here aren’t particularly likable, so know that going in if it’s important to you. Overall, I found it an engaging and thought-provoking story.

I received a gifted copy. All opinions are my own.

Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews317 followers
May 3, 2020
Melodrama or mellow drama?

I like my family sagas as tumultuous as the ocean with secrets buried so deep you need a team of divers to reach. This saga was more of a wearisome boat ride down a lazy river with maybe a few rapids to keep you awake. In other words, this may have been a mismatched reading experience.

I was never fully engaged in the characters’ lives, the prose lacked a certain artistry and the plot was largely dependent on lack of communication and convenience to move the narrative forward. There was an artificiality to the premise that I couldn’t quite believe and found frustrating.

Clancy’s descriptions of Cape Cod, however, did bring to life the experience and nostalgia of well-worn, generational summer homes. You could almost smell the salt air. Her writing is at its best when she’s describing this summer enclave, not surprisingly, she spent her summers there in her grandparents cove-side house and she brings that sense of place to the atmospheric details of the novel.

I didn’t love or hate this story, I just didn’t find it immersive.

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for the gift of an ARC. I wish I had liked this more, but rest assured I will pass it along to my local library for an upcoming book sale so it will hopefully find a better reader than me.
Profile Image for *TUDOR^QUEEN* .
408 reviews427 followers
July 4, 2020
3.5 Stars

A marketing director at St. Martin's press offered me a widget for this book back in October. This kind of book actually isn't my "cup of tea", but I love St. Martin's Press and the storyline seemed palatable, so I took a chance. All these months I kept pushing it aside, and as the publishing date recently passed I was shamed into finally picking this up. I needed something nice and easy after a recent all encompassing 5 Star read to "come down" from.

This is a story about a family who hails from Milwaukee, but vacations at an old Cape Cod cottage that's been in the family for generations. Ed and Connie are teachers and have a really good marriage. They have two teenage daughters, Ann and Poppy. Ann is the older blond one, and is quite beautiful and popular at high school. Poppy is the younger one, with dark hair, still finding herself. She was very close with her Dad until his attention transferred to Michael, the teenage boy they recently adopted. He was a classmate at Ann's high school who was orphaned after his mother died. They had become very friendly, and they actually secretly had romantic feelings for each other. So, perhaps it wasn't the best of ideas when Ann suggested to her parents that they adopt Michael. Even so, Connie and Ed were loving adoptive parents towards him. Connie was very good at giving Michael advice about how to control anger, and Ed loved showing Michael his treasured array of tools in the garage. When Poppy felt neglected by her father after Michael's adoption, she found friends on the beach who taught her how to surf, and other things that were not so great like drinking and taking drugs. Poppy embraced surfing, yoga, meditation and other new age practices. As time went on, she became one of those people who have to constantly be travelling. Her family would lose touch with her over long periods of time, as Poppy relocated to different countries and even worked little jobs as she went along to finance her adventures.

Ann was the opposite. When she was at the Cape Cod location, she would advertise her babysitting services. She wanted to save up as much money as possible for college. That's how she wound up babysitting at the Shaw house, a move that would change her life and those around her forever. The Shaws had money. To be accurate, the wife Maureen was the wealthy half of the marriage. Their home was out of place, modern and cold looking compared to the ancient homes on Cape Cod that were sometimes in disrepair, but at least had character. One day when Ann was alone in their house after dropping off the Shaw boys at a party, she decided to investigate in the Shaw's master bedroom. She looked at Maureen Shaw's clothing in the closet, and then decided to strip in front of the large mirror at one end off the bedroom. While she was admiring her naked body in the mirror, Mr. Anthony Shaw unexpectedly burst into the room. His reaction was not what she was expecting. Instead of behaving appropriately by being shocked and withdrawing in shame, he admired what he was looking at and made no effort to hide his arousal. This event was just the first spark to a series of events that later impacted Ann and her family.

This book goes back and forth between two time periods. As the book begins, the parents Ed and Connie Gordon have passed away, and Ann (the responsible one) is handling selling the homes. She is in the Cape Cod home with the realtor. Of course Poppy is off God knows where, but Ann is concerned about the whereabouts of Michael, who she hasn't seen in years. A lot of angst is spent regarding the sale of this treasured home that has been in the family like a jewel for generations. I won't expand further on the plot to leave it to unfold for prospective readers.

For me this is what I call an "OK read". It was good enough to hold my interest, but I wasn't wowed by it either. It's not my usual genre as I'm more inclined towards biographies and historical fiction. I also thought the book could have been edited down some.

Thank you to St. Martin's Press for providing an advance reader copy via NetGalley.
Profile Image for DeAnn.
1,266 reviews
June 3, 2020
*Happy pub day to Christina Clancy, this makes a great beach (or backyard) read!

3.75 Cape Cod Stars

The setting alone was cause for me to pick this book up! I’ve always been fascinated by Cape Cod and have enjoyed the limited amount of time that I’ve spent there. This debut novel focuses on one Midwest family who spends summers in an old house on the Cape. Events in one particular summer cause the family to splinter and years go by before anything is worked out.

Ann and her sister Poppy were close growing up, but Poppy learns to surf that fateful summer and later travels the world looking for the next big wave and her identity. Ann puts her plans to go to college on hold and their adopted brother Michael has disappeared.

Fifteen years later with the death of their parents, Ann, Poppy, and Michael must resolve the future of the Cape Cod “second” home and try to reconcile their fractured relationships. Will the secrets stay buried or has time healed some of the wounds?

I enjoyed this one and I think this author holds a lot of promise. There were a few times where I yelled at the characters to talk to each other! There were a few times when I had to suspend belief around legal matters, but it’s fiction, right! This would make for a great summer read.

Thank you to NetGalley, Christina Clancy, and St. Martin's Press for an early copy of this one to read and review.
Profile Image for Christine .
568 reviews1,068 followers
February 27, 2020
Initially I had a hard time engaging with this debut novel, but at around 30% or so things started to click for me when the pace kicked up. The story is set between 1999 and 2015 (with a 2017 epilogue) and takes place primarily on Cape Cod. I thought the author did a great job transporting the reader to the Cape. There are three narrators—Ann and Poppy and their adopted brother Michael. I would call this a darkish family drama, a “genre” I have recently discovered I enjoy.

Relationships can be messy and this family has messiness in spades. There is love, certainly. But there is also resentment, disrespect, mistrust, alternative facts, and worst of all—lack of communication. I don’t know if there are really families out there who despite loving each other fail to trust in one another despite the fact that the mistrusted hasn’t really done anything to deserve to be doubted. In fact, I think that was carried a bit too far in this story, which in addition to the slow start, led me to drop a star.

Other than that, I found this richly complex mini-saga engrossing and enjoyable. True, one of the narrators is not terribly likeable, which is usually a deal buster for me, but somehow that didn’t really turn me off this time. I think the reason for that is because she has to be that way to make the story work. In any event, I liked this one enough to hit the “follow button” for Ms. Clancy, and I will very likely seek out her next book. The Second Home is recommended for those who enjoy blacker family dramas.

Thank you Net Galley, St. Martin’s Press, and Ms. Christina Clancy for gifting me an ARC of this novel. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
Profile Image for Jonetta.
2,164 reviews880 followers
June 4, 2020
Connie and Ed Gordon bring their family to Cape Cod every summer for vacation. It’s a rustic cottage in Wellfleet and it’s been in Ed’s family for generation. He’s a teacher in Milwaukee and loves to share the island’s history with daughters Ann and Poppy, and later Michael, the orphaned teen they adopted. It’s during their second summer with Michael that things go tragically wrong and life for this family is forever altered. It’s now 16-years later and Ann has returned to Wellfleet to prepare the home for sale following the loss of her parents. Thus begins the story of what fractured their family, told in shifiting narratives from Ann, Poppy and Michael’s perspectives.

I’d expected to gain a strong sense of place in Cape Cod and was pleasantly surprised to get that also about the family’s home in Milwaukee. That’s important because it provides much needed context for each of the family members before and after Michael’s adoption and that last visit to Wellfleet. The reaction to that one event permanently shaped the paths that Ann, Michael and Poppy chose as adults. I enjoyed getting the three points of view, especially the contrasts of like events shared by them. It was often maddening how easily conflicts could have been resolved just through open communication but it was also exemplary of how typical families operate, especially when the parents are no longer there to facilitate. However, their ethereal presence on the island was hard to ignore.

This was a tough story with immense family themes that had an underlying loveliness despite some of the meanness. The effect of tradition and parental influence was skillfully managed in the crafting of Ann, Michael and Poppy. They had strong personalities and natures that permeated the story, which was compelling, especially in a debut novel. It’s atmospheric in both settings, leaving me with a sense of the cultures that defined them, though sometimes it could be overly descriptive, slowing the pace. However, it is an interesting story that I had a hard time letting go and loved the unexpected ending. 3.5 stars

Posted on Blue Mood Café

(Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)
Profile Image for Kristin.
723 reviews8 followers
October 24, 2019
I won this book on a Goodreads first reads giveaway.

**Friendly warning in advance that this review contains spoilers.**

You're probably asking yourself why I gave this such a low rating (currently with 21 reviews, 37 ratings, and a cool 4.86 stars...I'm the first and only person, so far, to rate this below 3 stars). There are two reasons for that:

Consistency and Ann.

Nothing in this story was consistent, from the characters personalities to the plot...it sometimes became a tangled web of doubling back on itself, revealing key things as an afterthought (which added to the confusion), and critical scenes that were downplayed, put on as an afterthought, or felt rushed and flat.

I know, it's confusing but I'll clarify if you manage to stick with me. Just...please keep in mind there's spoilers ahead from here on out. I'm going to try to keep this brief, who wants to read a novel about a novel? So I'm only going to touch on things that seemed like major flaws to me and ignore the tiny flaws and plot holes.

This entire plot was way too convenient and frankly didn't make much sense at all in the grand scheme of things.

*When Michael's mother died, how did he escape Social Services? The hospital would have reported to the state he was an orphan and they would have alerted the school and been hunting for him. He's underaged and has no income, but he magically slipped through the cracks and managed to seemingly survive by eating air.

Hospitals and teachers are, by law, mandatory reporters. They are legally obligated to report Michael was an orphan and had no family or of any suspicions of abuse. So I was already skeptical of the plot from basically the first page.

*Then there was the whole thing about the will. Somehow Ann managed to name herself executor of the estate, with two legal siblings and no will, without submitting written permission from either sibling that they were giving her permission to do so. It seriously isn't that easy and once it was uncovered she would have been in some serious hot water legally.

*I never read where anyone said Michael was the baby daddy. Ann never said it. Michael never said it. But somehow everyone was saying that Ann said he was. Did I miss where she actually said it? As far as I read she never said anything.

Same thing happened with Ed and Connie died, somehow Michael (who lived in a very small town) never found out, yet the real estate agent found out from the librarian. No one felt compelled to tell him? Okay...

*I realize teenagers are stupid but you can't convince me they're this stupid. Ann and Michael both knew that Tony was a manipulative POS who takes advantage of people...yet they believed every single word he said. Even fifteen years later they believed and never question him. And I just...

He was literally blackmailing them and they were just...so stupid they never questioned a single thing he said or his own motivation.

God I'm getting a headache just thinking about it. It literally takes the entire book for them to even begin to realize that "Hey, maybe that manipulative jerk was manipulating us!"

Good God.

*Then there's this weird thing where the plot wasn't consistent. Ann constantly references an "incident" with Tony (her rapist) involving a lot of blood and trauma but it's never revealed exactly what happened.

Then without warning, after many references to this vague incident and the plot is moving forward in time, Ann randomly decides (for some unknown reason) to stop in at her rapists house after a decade of avoiding him, looking over her shoulder for him, and sweating about him swooping in and stealing her kid that was the product of his attack.

The whole meeting unravels in the most unrealistic and flat way possible. Seriously, it was so flat and rushed I thought the first draft had accidentally been left in (I got an advance readers copy). The characters completely under react and then, poof, nothing is mentioned about it ever again.

So we're told something happened before it happened and then it happened. Or the book went back in time with no warning or indication was going back in time. So that was super confusing.

To make it all better, as I said nothing else is said about what happened afterward until Ann conveniently needs money and, oh yeah, turns out she's now BFFs with the widow of said rapist. In fact they've been living together ever since the incident and she just so happens to have the money Ann needs.

Which brings me around to the biggest problem in this entire book: Ann.

Forgive me to anyone of a more old fashioned constitution but there's no other way to describe her except to bluntly say: she is a complete bitch.

She lies to the government. Lies to her sister. Lies to the real estate agent. Lies to her son.

All so she can line her own pockets with money and scorn/screw her adopted brother. The same brother she screwed over by lying some where along the way about him being the baby daddy.

Somehow her rapist convinced her that her adopted brother and friend for years was a bad guy who was lying to her and he, the rapist who threatened her legally, was the good guy who telling the truth...

Just...there aren't enough Piccard face palm memes on the internet for this...

Then when a legal will is found and it isn't what she wants to see she freaking burns it and tries to order her sister not to say anything.

Are you freaking serious? How is she not in jail?

Then this witch has the gall to try to contest the will so everything will be left to her.

The relationship that blossomed between Michael and Ann at the end was outrageously unrealistic. She acted like a complete and total monster, screwed up Michael's entire life, tried to screw Michael's daughter, yet Michael gets horny sniffing her bras and wants her and they somehow magically come together at the end?

You're crazy if you think I'll just sigh about how romantic it all is and how they deserved each other.

Only thing Ann deserves is to see the world from behind the bars of a jail cell.
Profile Image for Bridgett.
Author 17 books404 followers
May 27, 2020
I walked past a house where I lived once; a man and a woman are still together in the whispers there. -- Yehuda Amichai

I've always loved novels which take place along the water in New England...particularly the islands like Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. This book might be the exception.

While the plot was decent, the inconsistencies within the story bothered me. The dialogue, along with the character's reactions to major life issues, were also completely off the wall.

I do feel Christina Clancy captured both Cape Cod and Milwaukee beautifully. The atmosphere and settings were definitely the highlight of this novel.

Overall, The Second Home pushes the boundaries of plausibility so far (which seems like it would be hard to manage in a family drama), it's hard to take it seriously.

Triggers: Rape

2.5 bra-sniffing stars

**My sincere appreciation to the publisher for my review copy.
Profile Image for Kat.
Author 8 books305 followers
February 22, 2021
This was a wonderful novel. It wound up being not at all what I expected—from the cover and blurb, I was somehow thinking it was going to be a beach read of sorts… long lost family reuniting at their beach home in Cape Cod. The tone feels like more of a literary character-driven sort of novel, with quite a few dark spots. However, I thoroughly enjoyed the author’s way with words and found myself drawn into the setting and the characters.

Ann and Poppy are in high school when they meet Michael, a fellow classmate whose mother has just died, leaving him homeless. Michael comes to live with the Gordon family over the next few years, bonding with all of them and eventually getting adopted. I won’t spoil what happens next, but it definitely kept me turning pages. Author Christina Clancy can craft a twisted tale, for sure! Told in split timelines with the events of fifteen years ago, and the present, we see how Ann, Poppy and Michael have come to be where they are today and whether it’s possible to find your way back to family after terrible tragedy and decades of estrangement.

Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
Profile Image for Brandice.
797 reviews
September 24, 2022
The Second Home is another family drama, ideal for summer, set at the Gordon family’s second house in Cape Cod, where they spend their summer vacationing.

Ed and Connie are teachers with two daughters, Ann and Poppy. They end up adopting Michael, a student of Ed’s who Ann also befriended. In the family’s second summer with Michael at Cape Cod, major unexpected events take place, altering the course of the Gordons’ futures and fracturing their long-term relationships with each other.

Now, Ed and Connie have passed away and the Cape Cod house remains. Ann wants to sell it because of her bad memories, Poppy has been absent traveling the world, and Michael resurfaces after years of estrangement with a claim to a third of the property.

Secrets and tension run high throughout this story about family, loss, and friendship. While I didn’t like all of the characters equally, I felt for them and enjoyed the shifting perspectives in The Second Home.
Profile Image for Brenda.
3,971 reviews2,585 followers
May 26, 2020
Every summer the Gordon family spent their vacation at their family home in Cape Cod, but the year Ann was seventeen was a disastrous one for the family. Ann had spent the whole summer babysitting for the Shaws. It was Michael’s first trip to Cape Cod as the family had recently adopted him and Poppy was learning to surf. When they left Cape Cod, the secret that Ann harboured caused a split in the family – a rift that might never heal.

Fifteen years later Ann was back at the house, preparing it for sale. The parents had been killed in a car accident and while Poppy organized their town house for sale, Ann carried on with their Cape Cod home. But when Michael arrived on the scene after being absent for those many years, and refused to let Ann sell the house, he also said he wanted the long-held secrets from that terrible summer to be laid bare. He wanted the truth to be out in the open.

The Second Home is the debut novel by Christina Clancy and the best part of the novel was the descriptions of Cape Cod. The pictures painted of that area gave me a wish to see it in its glory as the many summer residents loved it so much. The book covers dark elements, with rape, manipulation, blackmail, naïve teenagers, and abuse among the many traumas. I’m afraid I struggled with a lot of the aspects of this novel, skimming through the “hard to read” parts. I also didn’t connect with any of the characters. I’m afraid this was a disappointing read for me…

With thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my digital ARC to read in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Bkwmlee.
366 reviews229 followers
June 30, 2020

Drawing on her own family’s summers spent on Cape Cod during her youth, author Christina Clancy’s debut novel The Second Home tells the story of the Gordon family and what happens one fateful summer during their Cape Cod trip that ends up changing the dynamic of their family forever.

Every year during their months-long break from their jobs as teachers in their hometown of Wisconsin, Ed and Connie Gordon like to take their two teenage daughters Ann and Poppy to spend the summer at their beloved vacation home on Cape Cod — a house that has been in the family for generations. The summer of 2000 marks the second year that the Gordons are accompanied to Cape Cod by Michael, the teenager they adopted after his mother’s death the previous year. At first, the trip starts off like it does every summer, with the family enjoying all the fun and leisure that a vacation on the Cape has to offer. Not long into their stay, Ann — the ‘always serious, never without a plan’ older daughter — lines up a babysitting job with The Shaws, a wealthy family also spending their summer on the Cape. Meanwhile, Poppy — the free-spirited younger daughter — spends most of her time at the beach, where she hangs out with a group of surfers she just met. And Michael, still unable to believe how incredibly lucky he is to be accepted and loved so whole-heartedly by the Gordons, is perfectly content spending time with Ed and Connie in the Cape Cod house that he has come to love. Unfortunately, the family’s usually happy summer soon takes a turn for the worse when Ann becomes involved in a situation that not only upends her life and drives a rift into her relationship with both Poppy and Michael, it also destroys the underlying fabric of their family forever.

This is one of those books that left me feeling conflicted after I finished reading it. While there was so much I liked about the book — the engaging story, the descriptive writing, the atmospheric and beautifully depicted setting, the themes I resonated with — the main thing that prevented me from loving this one were the characters. Of course, I hated the character of Anthony Shaw like pretty much anyone reading this story would — it’s to be expected given his loathsome actions, plus he is the obvious “villain” in the story. What I didn’t expect was that I would dislike Ann — the main protagonist— as much as I ended up doing. As a character, Ann frustrated me to no end. Yes, her self-absorbed, pretentious, arrogant personality was annoying, but what frustrated me the most was her continued haughtiness and pettiness even after she got herself into the predicament that upended her own life and the lives of others — it made my blood boil the way she would be jealous of her siblings and begrudge them for living their lives on their own terms rather than staying behind to help her clean up the mess she made of her own life. Some may argue that she was young and naive, which ok, perhaps makes her behavior excusable at 17 years old, but how about 16 years later when she is in her thirties and still behaving the same way? It made it really hard for me to feel even an ounce of sympathy for her despite what she went through (and I’m pretty sure I’m probably the only who feels this way, which is fine).

Despite my strong reaction and the obvious frustration I had with some of the characters, I liked everything else about this book well enough overall for me to still recommend it as a worthy read. In fact, this one ended up being quite a page-turner for me, a story I was so absorbed in that, if I didn’t have to get up early for work, I very well could’ve finished in one sitting.

Received e-ARC from NetGalley and paper ARC directly from publisher St. Martin’s Press.
Profile Image for Theresa Alan.
Author 10 books979 followers
January 19, 2020
This was an OK novel, but I felt it could have been stronger. The premise is that Ann manages to track down her estranged sister, Poppy, after their parents die in a car accident. Poppy returns to the Milwaukee, WI, home, where they grew up. Ann is going to sell their house on the Cape, where they spent every summer. One thing Ann conveniently leaves out of documents is that their parents adopted Michael when he was sixteen. Naturally, the siblings, who haven’t spoken in years, have to come together to determine what to do with the property.

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to review this novel, which RELEASES JUNE 2, 2020.
Profile Image for Tammy.
865 reviews158 followers
May 26, 2020
Every year the Gordon’s looked forward to leaving Michigan behind to summer at Cape Cod located on the outer banks.
Ann was seventeen, innocent and carefree, until
one night on the Cape it was all taken away.
This story follows how their family is then split apart for the next fifteen years until their parents are killed in a car accident. Sisters Ann and Poppy then must put their differences aside and work together to ready both homes to be sold. The sisters, along with their (long-lost) adopted brother Michael, are brought together once again at their Cape bungalow. Ann planned on a quick sale of the Cape property, unfortunately things don’t go as Ann had originally planned. Old wounds are opened eventually bringing real truths to light. BUT is it enough to return love to where it had once been in their family?
The Second Home is a compelling family drama I quite enjoyed! 4.5 stars
Much thanks to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for providing an ARC for my honest review. Releases June 2, 2020.
Profile Image for Lisa Leone-campbell.
413 reviews41 followers
June 12, 2020
This is an enjoyable, yet sad story of secrets, trauma, love, hate and forgiveness.  The emphasis being that no family is without pain, and some families can feel isolation in different ways.  The question is can a family rise above all the mess and become one again.

Ann Gordon's family owns a summer house on Cape Cod.  The last summer she was there when she was just a teenager with her sister Poppy and newly adopted brother Michael something happened which would not only change her life, but would tear her family apart.

Now, years later, her parents have died and it's up to Ann and Poppy to decide whether to sell the Cape house or keep it.  Ann and Poppy have not been close since that last summer.  Ann works in Boston and Poppy lives wherever she lands, traveling and working and has never really settled down.  Michael's whereabouts, after he left mysteriously that last summer is unknown.

So when the decision needs to be made whether to sell or keep the Cape house, Ann, who cannot bare even being in the house decides she wants to sell.  Unfortunately for Ann, Poppy who has come back with her own emotional baggage from the past decides she cannot imagine selling the house.

To complicate the situation even further, Michael discovers what is happening and is furious he had not been notified.  He concludes he cannot let this house go and wants to buy it himself.

Is it possible for three siblings who suffered great trauma, hurt and mistrust in their past be able, without their parent's guidance, comeback together as a family, not the one they remember from the past, but a new type of family, one their parents would be proud of.

As I thought about the story after I finished it, I realized that the title, The Second Home has many meanings.  There are many seconds in this story for most of the characters.  The Second Home was an uplifting and satisfying read.

Thank you #NetGalley #St.Martin'sPress #ChristinaClancy #TheSecondHome for the advanced copy.
Profile Image for Jessica J..
1,007 reviews1,875 followers
June 10, 2020
I'm kind of mystified at how this has such glowing reviews around here. I know I read an advance copy, but it's almost like I read an entirely different book. A completely implausible plot twist, conflict driven by people just not talking to each other, half-assed character development, this whole thing was an absolute mess.
Profile Image for Hulya Kara Yuksel.
869 reviews1,048 followers
February 3, 2020
I enjoyed this book very much but last chapters of the book was kind of felt rushed. But still it was quite an emotional story. <3

*ARC provided by NetGalley.
August 19, 2019
The Second Home is impossible to put down, which is unfortunate because Christina has such a beautiful way with language that one never wants the book to end. I was drawn in from the very first sentence and the imagery is so vivid that I would swear I had sand from Cape Cod between my toes. Dive into this compelling family drama and enjoy the ride.
Profile Image for Anuradha Rajurkar.
Author 2 books133 followers
January 9, 2019
This is a hauntingly beautiful book. Told through multiple points of view, the characters are flawed and human, the family dynamic unusual and compelling, and the plot is riveting. The writing style reminds of me Joan Dideon or Jean Thompson. An amazing debut.
Profile Image for Joan Kappes.
2 reviews
September 13, 2021
Within the first few pages of The Second Home I was thoroughly hooked. Christi Clancy is a gifted storyteller, and long after I finished the book I could not stop thinking about the characters Ann, Poppy, and Michael. An arresting debut novel!

Re-read this for the second time 2 years later and found it to be even better, if that's possible. I give it 6 stars.
Profile Image for MicheleReader.
660 reviews121 followers
June 21, 2020
The Second Home tells the story of the Gordon Family from Wisconsin. Their summers were spent at the family home in Cape Cod. The home had been in the family for generations.

Parents Ed and Connie were ex hippies and teachers who provided a loving home for their daughters Ann and Poppy. They were so giving that they adopted Ann’s newly orphaned friend Michael who was in need of a family and a safe place to live.

The story begins in 2015. The Gordon parents are now deceased and single mother Ann returns to Cape Cod to sell the family’s beloved second home. Poppy had been flitting from beach to beach around the globe teaching yoga and Michael is out of the picture. No will is found but Ann wants to quickly sell the house seeking needed funds for her son’s education.

We are taken back to 1999 when the family’s initially idyllic summer in Cape Cod ends with a tragic event. They head back to Wisconsin. Soon Michael disappears leaving the Gordon family, never to be heard from again. Until 2015, when Michael re-emerges to block the sale of the Cape Cod home hoping to own it himself.

Told in different perspectives, this engaging book shows how secrets, the lack of trust and poor communication can damage a once great family unit. You’ll feel for each of them even when they are frustrating or being unreasonable. The children of Ann and Michael provide a needed bright light as they appear at times to have more good sense than their elders. Can happiness be achieved or is it too late?

Many thanks to St. Martin’s Press, Edelweiss and Christina Clancy for an advance copy of this impressive debut novel. I look forward to seeing what Ms. Clancy does next.

Review posted on MicheleReader.com.
Profile Image for book bruin.
1,053 reviews277 followers
June 14, 2020
3.5 stars

The Second Home was an emotional family drama. It's broken into two main parts - the past and then 15 years later. The story focuses on the Gordon family and how one disastrous summer sends all three siblings on different paths. The book played out in my mind like a movie and after a bit of a slow start, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to find out how it would all end.

I liked Michael, Ann, and Poppy for the most part, but there were also times that I found them very frustrating. I felt the decisions and mistakes made in their youth were understandable and heartbreaking. I actually had to put the book down a few times in part one because of how heavy my heart felt. As adults, however, their inability to speak openly and honestly with each other grew tiresome. The miscommunications and misunderstandings made the story feel too drawn out and then once the air is finally cleared (no thanks to our main characters), the book ends. I would have liked to see a little more about the healing of their friendships and relationships and how things finally came back together. Overall, this was an entertaining read and a solid debut, but I had a hard time fully rooting for these characters.

CW: infidelity, rape, suicide

*I voluntarily read a review copy of this book*
246 reviews4 followers
September 25, 2019
I gave this book 5 stars because from the very start I was drawn to this Wisconsin family and their second home on Cape Cod. The family consists of a mother, father, daughter Polly and daughter Ann. They adopt a teenage boy named Michael, who is the same age as Ann. The parents love him like a son but the girls, particularly Ann, like him more than a brother. What could go wrong? To complicate matters, Ann take a babysitting job and gets involved with the father of the boys she is babysitting. Twists, turns and misunderstandings cause problems and pain for all involved. A wonderful story brilliantly told. I recommend this book.
Profile Image for Jan.
113 reviews1 follower
September 28, 2022
I liked this family drama. Although it has the common problems of petty jealousy, unwanted pregnancy, lack of communication, and a property dispute I like how it all played out. This, of course, put a rift in the family dynamic and led to estrangement among the siblings lasting years. The sibs left me frustrated at times with their stubborn behavior, but I sure loved their down-to-earth parents. Brought back together by an unfortunate circumstance...I think you can see where I'm going here...... I like the references to Milwaukee and the surrounding area because once upon a time I was born and raised there. The ending wasn't a neatly wrapped package with a bow, but it was tidy. Being that I read for pure enjoyment, it did its job.
Profile Image for Dianne.
6,765 reviews577 followers
April 30, 2020
The horrors of that summer on Cape Cod not only affected Ann Gordon, but painfully destroyed the very fiber of the bonds that cemented her family’s very soul. Instead, the poison of the secrets kept caused the familial rift to fester. Fifteen years later, after her parents’ deaths, she must come face to face with her past, the secrets and the lies. Is she ready? Are any of them?

Christina Clancy’s THE SECOND HOME is a tale of flaws, of human frailties, insecurities and the selfish actions of emotionally immature adults caught up in the past. Heavy on atmosphere, rich in detail, one can smell the ocean and feel the tension that should never have existed.

I really wanted to like these characters, I did like the parents, but the three “adult” children who let years go by as they each “escaped” into their own worlds failed to impress me. The extremes they went to were heartbreaking to witness and frustrating to see. Each one of the three were selfish in their own way, judgmental and holding back things that should have been shared. One even seemed to be extraneous, an unnecessary addition to the story.

All in all, a family saga that went on too many years with too much pain, taking too many victims in its wake.

I received a complimentary ARC edition from St. Martin's Publishing Group! This is my honest and voluntary review.

Publisher: St. Martin's Press (June 2, 2020)
Publication Date: June 2, 2020
Genre: Family Saga
Print Length: 352 pages
Available from: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
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