The Cast Net first attracted me by its cover with an image of grassy fields or marshes. The excerpt was interesting enough, and I picked up yet another book from a hitherto unknown author. The Cast Net has a good story at its heart, and the book is eventful and anecdotal enough to keep you turning pages. Some readers might be a bit put off by the style though.
I have developed a new appreciation of books or stories that clearly mention which year they are set in. Technology portrayed in the book is a guide, but it is still a guessing game that I don’t always appreciate playing. The excerpt of the book says it is set in the 1980s. Throughout the book, there are references to a war hero father, and then some events when the lead character was about to graduate high school. See, math again! But lets move on.
Mills Taylor – yes, that is her name, and so she is called throughout the book – works in a Manhattan ad firm. She comes across a dashing young, or not so young gentleman who is her boss’s friend and who is looking for someone to work with him down in South Carolina. The dashing gent is shrouded in mystery, with a missing wife and a cloud of suspicion hanging over his head. Twenty something Mills drops her NY life to go down to a small farm near Charleston, South Carolina, working for a charity founded by the man’s mother. Cooper Heath is quite wealthy and owns a shipping line and many businesses.
Mills chooses to live next door to her boss, an unknown and condemned man on an isolated farm, rather than in a townhouse in Charleston. Gradually, Mills gets a handle on her work, and also gets involved in Cooper’s life. Many characters are introduced, like an errant cousin, doting uncle and aunt, a rich philanthropist who is taken by Mills, and not to mention a gentleman working on the farm who somehow shares genes with Cooper Heath. The story moves on as we experience life on a Southern farm, not to mention with a rich gentleman. Mills gradually grows to like Cooper, but what of his missing wife? Is she alive somewhere, and will she come back before the story ends?
The mystery pervades the story, but it is very much in the background. It is almost like an afterthought. The narration is a bit off, and some lines seem really stretched. It is hard exactly pinpoint but I think it might be because Mills speaks as if she is drafting a formal letter. There are very little emotions used in the reporting speech which might be a reason. The tone either improves after a while, or you get so caught up in the story that you stop noticing it. There are references to the poem Annabel Lee, which seems to be popular all of a sudden. I reviewed a whole book which is named after the kingdom by the sea.
The Cast Net seems quirky at times but it is very engaging. The story definitely holds your attention and moves at a leisurely pace. You will read a lot about Southern life, especially that of the rich folks who have lots of spare cash. Overall, The Cast Net is certainly worth adding to your collection.
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