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Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann

Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann is the book to choose when you have a nice long day to read –a day on the couch, or any place where you can be uninterrupted and read this novel from cover to cover. We begin with two cousins, Nick and Helena, just before the end of the Second World War. They have grown up together summering at the family compound, Tiger House, in Martha’s Vineyard. Nick’s husband is soon to return to the United States from overseas, Helena’s husband was killed in the war, but she is about to fly off to Hollywood to remarry. Life is starry and bright. But – Nick’s husband returns remote, and Helena’s new husband turns out to be a very different man than she imagined.

We will follow these two women, their husbands, and children into the late 1960’s. Through the heady days following the war, the thrill of having survived, the making happy, the drinking, the smoking, the partying, the making babies, into the future with as the adults mature, and children who are now young adults – into the swinging 1960’s.

Nick, is the “it girl” in this novel, she and her husband Hughes, a successful lawyer in his post-war life, have a happy marriage for the most part. They certainly have more than enough money to have a home in the city and maintain the seaside home – Nick has no need to work or economize. Helena, whose father died young, has no such financial ease and that difference between the cousins creates more and more of a chasm as the years pass. Liza Klaussmann has brought these women to life – in spite of Nick’s recklessness I loved her character, her sensitive heart hidden beneath her immaculate veneer of good breeding and pride; and Helena whose lovely soul is so damaged by the men she has married and the poverty that leads to jealousy and retreat.

I was well into this novel when one of the characters becomes someone who exudes evil – there is a murder, and summers that once held no more than a few family squabbles have become much more threatening. There is a new sense of unease in the lives of the characters in the novel, and in the reader. I found myself reading each page with a chill of apprehension about what was to follow. What started as a lovely period novel becomes something much more – a novel you just can’t put down.

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