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A delightful comedy of manners about two sisters who must set aside their differences when they inherit a house in the Hamptons.

Cassie and Peck Moriarty share a last name, a love for The Great Gatsby, and a ramshackle cottage in the Hamptons, recently bequeathed to them by their beloved aunt Lydia-but the commonalities end there. Cassie, quiet, practical, and still reeling from a recent divorce, lives in Switzerland and works as a journalist, though she secretly yearns to publish a novel. Peck (short for Pecksland) is a drama queen with stage ambitions and a Louis Vuitton steamer trunk filled with vintage clothes. Raised by their mothers in Europe and New York, respectively, the half-sisters have only seen each other during the occasional summer vacation at Lydia's house.

Aunt Lydia was an eccentric high school English teacher who named her cottage Fool's House after a Jasper Johns painting, spent her summers exposing her nieces to literature, and housed a series of young "artists-in-residence." Her will stipulated that the young women spend one last summer in the house and have experiences off a list that includes skinny-dipping and playing backgammon for money. She also, more mysteriously, told them to look for a "thing of utmost value" in the ramshackle, supposedly haunted old house. Now they are faced with the dilemma of whether to sell Fool's House or keep it in the family, though neither niece can afford it. Naturally, they disagree on this point, as on most others. Peck wants to keep the house and campaigns vigorously to do so, even as Cassie recruits an ex-Rockette real estate agent to help them put it on the market. To make matters more complicated, they've inherited an attractive but strange artist-in-residence named Biggsy who seems determined to stay at all costs.

As they settle in for what may be their final Fool's House summer, they find themselves embroiled in a string of curious events-including unexpected entanglements with men from their past.

Like its namesake, Ganek's novel is a glimpse into a rarified world of old wealth and privilege, shot through with wit and mystery. Her lively characters, pitch-perfect detail, and clever dialogue make this comedy of manners a delightful romp.

Like summer itself, this bewitching novel will leave you half in love and yearning for more. Elin Hildebrand, author of Barefoot

JUNE 2011