Meg Mitchell Moore (The Islanders; The Admissions) returns with another juicy, thoughtful, enthralling family drama in her seventh novel, Vacationland. Louisa Fitzgerald McLean has been going to her parents' summer home, Ships View, on the coast of Maine every summer for her entire life. But this summer, things are different: Louisa, now a tenured professor, arrives in Maine with her three kids in tow. Her husband, Steven, has stayed behind in Brooklyn to focus on his podcast start-up. As Louisa struggles to make some progress on a scholarly book she's writing, she is also forced to face an uncomfortable truth: her father, a retired judge, is struggling with Alzheimer's, and her patrician mother is alternating between trying to cope and pretending everything is fine. The family's tenuous peace is further upset by Kristie, a new arrival to town, who's juggling $27,000 in medical debt, her grief at losing her mother and a secret that connects her to the Fitzgeralds. Louisa and Kristie are forced to examine their assumptions about privilege and family--as well as each other--over the course of the summer.
Moore tells her story mostly by alternating Kristie's and Louisa's points of view. She paints midcoastal Maine, the "vacationland" of the title (also a nickname for the state), in its spruced-up summer glory, but pulls back the curtain to show the lives of those who work hard to serve the wealthy residents and summer people.
Full of breathtaking Maine sunsets and family drama writ large and small, Vacationland is both an escapist summer read and a thoughtful examination of motherhood, privilege and what makes a family. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams