June: A Novel - Miranda Beverly-Whittemore
Won an ARC from a Goodreads First Reads giveaway & I’m so glad I did! I’d never heard of or read Miranda Beverly-Whittemore before this and now I can’t wait to read the rest of her work. It’s exquisite storytelling and eloquent.

I was immediately sucked in with it’s slow-paced, detailed southern charm and a dreaming house. I was torn between savoring it and devouring it.

I’m trying to make this review helpful and not fan girl all over the place but it’s hard. I just want to scream how good this was. In short: everything was fucking amazing.

June is part historical mystery and contemporary family drama. The whole time I’m guessing and getting it wrong with June and Lindie’s perspectives. All the while I’m rooting for Cassie and her motley crew.

Plot:
June is told through alternating perspectives of past, June and Lindie, and Cassie, June’s granddaughter, the present. Each is used brilliantly to weave the plot, build the setting and atmosphere, and crafting characters. These switching POVs can win over even those who don’t like multiple narratives.

The mystery is phenomenal. I only had the right guesses toward the very end, two pages before it was revealed. The twists and turns felt organic and right. No shoehorning, randomness, awkwardness or flimflam. *This* is how it’s done.

Racism, sexism and homophobia aren’t used as plot devices or gimmicks. It’s realistically embedded in the times and characters. And it’s not the simplistic sign of the times versus utopia future. It demonstrates how so much has changed and stayed the same.

Then there’s the ending…OH MY FUCKING GOD. It’s…everything.

Characters:

I loved them all. All. They’re complex and dynamic captivating. I rooted for every single one, with exceptions only for the antagonists. The villains of this story are just as well done as the rest. And it’s not just people: small towns, bigotry, sexism…it all comes to life to break your heart, dash your dreams, and bring hope for the future.

June’s the stubborn good-girl. Lindie is the gender norm breaking lesbian. Their relationship is important and one of the best female friendships I’ve had the pleasure of reading.

Cassie. Oh, Cassie. She’s crystal clear and vibrant. The portrayal of depression and grief is spot on. I’ve been there, fighting to not go back there, and I just wanted to hug her and make it better. I loved her journey and character progression.

Hell, I can say that about all of them. I hate to even call them background characters as they’re all influential and memorable in their own right. They each played an important part, even if it wasn’t as a POV protagonist.