When her mother is found dead in her home with a man
who’s apparently her fiancé, Sunny Batten is forced to return to her hometown in King
George, New Hampshire and face her mother’s death, the classmates who once harassed her,
and an almost-step-brother, who’s flying in for the funeral.
returns home, Sunny finds that some things really do change -- like her old classmates
and her mother, who changed from a quiet, self-conscious woman to the town’s leading lady
(in more ways than one) after Sunny left town. And she’s in for a few surprises, too --
like her not-quite step-brother who shares her strikingly thin, prematurely gray
The Dearly Departed is a light, easy-to-read novel, but I was
disappointed by its lack of development and cohesiveness. The characters aren’t
well-developed -- especially the step-brother, Fletcher, who seemed to change
personalities with every turn of the page.
Although Lipman tells her readers all kinds of stories
about the characters’ pasts, most of the stories have very little to do with the
novel itself. And some of the subplots are totally dropped in the middle of the book
(like a possible suspicious death, which is just shrugged off).
So, although it’s a light and easy read, the under-development story and characters made The Dearly Departed less than satisfying.