From acclaimed author Richard North Patterson comes a sweeping family drama of dark secrets and individual awakenings, set against the backdrop of the tumultuous summer of 1968.
America is in a state of turbulence, engulfed in civil unrest and uncertainty. Yet for Whitney Dane – spending the summer of her twenty-second year on Martha’s Vineyard – life could not be safer, nor the future more certain.
Educated at Wheaton, soon to be married, and the youngest daughter of the all-American Dane family, Whitney has everything she has ever wanted, and is everything her all-powerful and doting father, Charles Dane, wants her to be.
But the Vineyard’s still waters are disturbed by the appearance of Benjamin Blaine. An underprivileged, yet fiercely ambitious and charismatic figure, Blaine is a force of nature neither Whitney nor her family could have prepared for.
As Ben’s presence begins to awaken independence within Whitney, it also brings deep-rooted family tensions to a dangerous head. And soon Whitney’s set-in-stone future becomes far from satisfactory, and her picture-perfect family far from pretty.
"A title that is dripping with summer diversions, youthful passion and ideals, class tensions, and familial disruptions makes for wonderful reading whatever the season."
—Library Journal (*)
“Set in the summer and fall of a pivotal year in American history, 1968 . . . Patterson’s latest offers up an appealing family drama set against the backdrop of a radically tumultuous and influential time.”
“Loss of Innocence, second of a projected trilogy, is the compelling account of a family’s collapse amid multiple betrayals in the bloody year 1968. The book moves at high velocity, is grandly plotted with a crescendo of an ending. This is Richard North Patterson at the top of his game.”
—Ward Just, author of An Unfinished Season and Rodin’s Debutante
“Like male novelists of the Nineteenth century, Richard North Patterson actually looks at the world though a woman's eyes. He tells us the story of a girl born into a derived identity, and her path toward who she is and what she wants. In one life of the 1960s, he symbolizes a movement that keeps changing all our lives.”
—Gloria Steinem, author of Revolution from Within
“Loss of Innocence is a stunning tour de force by one of my favorite novelists. This comingof-age story electrifies with the authenticity of the Sixties—the sex, politics, language, mores and music. And Martha's Vineyard, with its heartbreaking beauty, is the ideal setting for an engrossing drama of a so-called perfect family riven by its secrets. Richard North Patterson, always brilliant, is better than ever.”
—Linda Fairstein, author of The Deadhouse
“Wealthy, WASPY and protected, Whitney Dane lives a life of privilege under the seemingly benevolent patriarchy of her powerful father. At the family summer home on Martha's Vineyard, political violence and anti-war protests seem far away. But in the course of the season, cracks open in her closest relationships, exposing rot and darkness within and linking Whitney to the larger issues of race, class and corruption that roil the country. Richard North Patterson has created a richly textured romance, deftly set amid the seismic social shifts of 1968.”
—Geraldine Brooks, author of Caleb’s Crossing
“Loss of Innocence is an extraordinary novel—profound, emotionally involving and totally addictive. This may be Richard North Patterson's best work: surprising and different, yet with the same ability to penetrate the minds of others—especially women, which is a rare gift.”
—Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles
“A snapshot of America at a pivotal moment in history, and a beautifully written coming-of-age novel.”
—Lady Antonia Fraser, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Must You Go?