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June: Book summary and reviews of June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore


A Novel

by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore X
June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
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  • Published Feb 2017
    400 pages
    Genre: Literary Fiction

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About this book

Book Summary

From the New York Times bestselling author of Bittersweet comes a novel of suspense and passion about a terrible mistake that changed a family forever.

Cassie Danvers is holed up in her family's crumbling mansion in small-town Ohio, mourning the loss of her grandmother, June. But the noise of the rusted doorbell forces her out of isolation. Cassie has been named the sole heir to legendary movie star Jack Montgomery's fortune.

Soon Jack's famous daughters arrive, entourage in tow, determined to wrestle Cassie away from an inheritance they feel is theirs. Together, they come to discover the true reason for June's silence about the summer she was eighteen, when Hollywood came to town, and June and Jack's lives were forever altered. Shifting deftly between the past and present, Cassie and her guests will be forced to reexamine their legacies, their definition of family, and what it truly means to love someone, steadfastly, across the ages.

Paperback reprint March 2017, published in hardcover May 2016

Reading Guide & Excerpt

You can see the full discussion here. This discussion will contain spoilers!

Some of the recent comments posted about June:

Did June do the right thing by taking Diane's deal?
Ditto re: several others above. I think, given the times and her situation, she felt it was her only option. She did what she had to do at that particular moment in time. - diwolter

Do you think Jack and June were truly in love?
I think Jack probably had different girls in different times. I wondered about his age and actually how much older he was than June. June was unsure of her pending marriage to Artie and I assumed that he too was older. She was caught up in the ... - Peggy H

Do you, like Lindie, recognize any mannerisms being passed down through the generations in your own family?
Yes. One of my sons has never really known his biological father but he has a lot of his mannerisms. The way he smiles, his voice, bring back memories of his father. I'm amazed by the power of genetics! - karenrn

How did you respond to Cassie's photography exhibition about her parent's car crash? Do you agree with June that some things are too personal to share?
I think artists often use their memories even the bad ones in their art. It is hard to understand sharing something like that unless you are a artist. It was probably something Cassie needed to do but she should have warned June. - karenrn

How did you respond to Hank's character, before and after her betrayal?
Did she want Tate's love? Was she afraid that Tate was becoming too attached to Cassie, who might replace her? - Peggy H

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Media Reviews

New York Post Summer's Hottest Reads
Kirkus 11 Excellent Summer Reads for Your Book Club
Daily Elite 5 Books You'll Regret Not Reading This Summer

"A crumbling family home, a shockingly large inheritance, a small-town mystery, and a high-wattage Hollywood star: June is atmospheric, ambitious, and filled with enough intrigue, betrayal, passion, and heartbreak to keep you reading all the way to the explosively satisfying end." - Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

"A delicious and delightful tale about what happens when small-town secrets and family bonds collide with the intrigue and romance of Hollywood. Beverly-Whittemore draws a rich and detailed portrait of two parallel summers that will draw you in from the beginning and keep you guessing until the end." - J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Maine and Commencement

"At turns lush and tender, harrowing and poignant, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore's June is historical fiction at its most masterful, and a love story rich in complication and heartbreak." - Megan Abbott, award-winning author of Dare Me and The Fever

"When Miranda Beverly-Whittemore crosses small-town Ohio with Hollywood glamour, both come alive, breaking stereotypes and zooming in on their flawed, complicated denizens. Brilliantly weaving past and present, JUNE is elegant and suspenseful, but refreshingly raw and intimate. Read it! From page one you'll find yourself in the hands of a master storyteller." - Hilary Liftin, New York Times bestselling author of Movie Star by Lizzie Pepper

"A perfectly paced, compelling story of love, lust, and family secrets, June draws you into its gentle embrace, expertly waltzes you between present and past, mesmerizing until the very last page." - Amy Hatvany, author of Somewhere Out There

"Hollywood meets small-town Ohio in 1955, starting reverberations that last for generations… Beverly-Whittemore has fashioned an appealing story of romance and suspense with a focus on love and legacy." - Booklist

"Love between a small-town girl and one of Hollywood's leading men leads to murder, blackmail, and secrets. Beverly-Whittemore returns with another charming page-turner, this time marrying old Hollywood elegance to Midwestern practicality… A lightly gothic tale of hearts broken and mended in small-town America." - Kirkus

"Beverly-Whittemore offers up two interconnected tales of family secrets, 60 summers apart… the dual narratives are enjoyable both singly and in tandem as the novel explores the changing possibilities for women, the evolution of the Hollywood fame machine, and love's potential for genuine human transformation." - Publishers Weekly

"The past is not all glossy nostalgia; Beverly-Whittemore illuminates the conflicts roiling under a smooth, socially acceptable surface… Fans of Hollywood, then and now, will find this dramatic story line appealing." - Library Journal

This information about June was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's membership magazine, and in our weekly "Publishing This Week" newsletter. Publication information is for the USA, and (unless stated otherwise) represents the first print edition. The reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author and feel that they do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, send us a message with the mainstream reviews that you would like to see added.

Any "Author Information" displayed below reflects the author's biography at the time this particular book was published.

Reader Reviews

Write your own reviewwrite your own review

Tired Bookreader

This book is the first I've read in a while that had a good story from beginning to end...and the end really wrapped up the tale. Descriptions were concise, the characters had quantifiable emotions and events. I am hoping Miranda has another book in her...anxiously waiting...


Stars Above Us
I received this as a book to review. When I first started it, I had a hard time getting into it. It took almost 50 pages to not give up and continue and then I liked it., The story came alive for me and I was glad I had read it and stuck with it. Story of an average girl and a movie star. Who ever has that chance to be a part of that world and find out you really care for someone - but June cared not only for Jack but she cared very much for her close friend Lindie and just could not leave her behind. Was it right thing to do? Only you can determine that and decide for yourself.


We meet Cassie, the granddaughter of June in 2015. She presents as a financially strapped, resentful young woman who has inherited June’s large and stately house in Ohio. The house, however, is in ruins and the ghosts of the former inhabitants speak to Cassie in her dreams (a good technique that provides background) depressing her further.

With patience, readers watch Cassie mature as she begins to understand long ago events that occurred between the family and townspeople who preceded her. The first event to drive this story begins when a man named Nick appears at Cassie’s door to announce that she may be a very rich woman.

Nick tells Cassie she has inherited a fortune from an unknown grandfather Jack__________, a former matinee idol, whose famously beautiful daughter Tate, is vigorously contesting the will.

At this point the announcement of the inheritance feels too weak to move beyond “a poor, orphan maiden is rescued by the generous benefactor.” Readers, be patient.

While Cassie seems the traditional protagonist, the novel pivots around June. June, her friend Lindy (a wonderfully created character) and several others are the first of this multi-generational novel who move between the early twentieth century and the present.

There are many subplots, all of which work to transform Cassie into the woman she actually is: a kind, loving woman who is young to be alone in life and simply misses the people she has lost, ending with her grandmother June. The love story, however, between innocent June and sophisticated movie star Jack is the nucleus here. While June may unfold tentatively, it becomes seriously solid – well beyond a “beach read.”


Dual Plot Leaves Both Lacking
The most highly developed character in the book is Two Oaks, the great yellow mansion built by Gray Neeley in 1850's St Jude, Ohio. The house hums and stretches and leans and listens and groans. It is alert to the shadowy humans of the past who lived in it or partied in it and it vaguely senses the presence of the new tenant, Cassie Danvers, the despondent, depressed twenty something who has come home after the death of the grandmother who raised her, June.
In an effort to explain Cassie's mind set and to explain the brooding mansion's decrepit state the author toggles back and forth between the present, 2015, and the past, 1955, the days of June's teens and the time of St Jude's fifteen minutes of fame as the setting for a mediocre Hollywood shoot of the film, Erie Canal. Unfortunately, this flashback approach dilutes the author's ability to develop the characters of these parallel plots.
The description of St Jude and its surroundings as well as its buildings is excellent and the reader can easily envision the locale. It is also easy to see the changes in the place over the intervening sixty years. The excitement of small town folks invaded by Hollywood stars, their entourages and crews is very real. Unfortunately the sense of place does not create a sense of the inner workings of the main characters.
Also difficult to discern is the relationships among some of the characters. There are many threads introduced in the 1955 sections that are left hanging tantalizingly over the readers' heads, much as the ceiling rotting in an upstairs closet hangs threateningly over the temporary residents of the 2015 Two Oaks. Perhaps, the story would have been better told in two volumes--one before--the 1955 story with the secrets revealed--and one after--2015--with the living discovering them and making sense of the situation in which they find themselves.
I read the book in one day, almost giving up several times with impatience but pushing on in hope that with time I would find something redeeming and deeper in the story. Finished disappointed and with a sense of something lacking.

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books for review.

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Author Information

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is the author of three other novels: New York Times bestseller Bittersweet; Set Me Free, which won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize, given annually for the best book of fiction by an American woman; and The Effects of Light. A recipient of the Crazyhorse Prize in Fiction, she lives and writes in Brooklyn.

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