Set in Manhattan, sometime after the disastrous economic plunge, the adult Plumb children gather together for a lunch to try to sort through the losses of their trust, aptly called “The Nest.” And their agenda includes trying to find a way to persuade Leo to make things right.
Months ago, in another of his many reckless moves, Leo drunkenly crashed the car, seriously injuring his passenger, with whom he’d been having sex…and the repercussions were expensive. Unbeknownst to the others at the time, their mother Francie nearly drained the trust to pay off the family of the injured girl…and to cover Leo’s rehab.
They are all still stunned at what they see as their mother’s betrayal. After all, even though she is the executor of the trust, how could she so blatantly favor their older brother at their expense?
They were all waiting for the trust to pay out, some of them more desperate than others.
The Nest takes us through the historic events of their lives. Leo, as the oldest, is one of those charismatic characters who seems to gather people around him who are eager to help him, join him, and even look up to him. But his numerous bad choices over the years, and his apparent narcissistic focus, make him an unlikeable character and a sibling to abhor.
Bea, a writer whose early works are now a distant memory, is struggling to create something more…and works as an editor in the meantime, for a company called Paper Fibres. She still mourns the loss of her married lover Tucker…and that time in her life when everything seemed possible.
Jack and his partner Walker have a good life, but Walker is unaware of how Jack has borrowed against their vacation home, based on the expectation that the fund will pay out soon.
Melody, with twin daughters nearing college age, is also struggling, hoping for the money she had expected to come by her birthday, as per the terms of the trust. Her husband is trying to stifle her spending and talks about selling their home.
The twins, Louisa and Nora, are going through their own coming-of-age struggles, and I enjoyed seeing how their discoveries about themselves and life seemed so relevant against the backdrop of what was happening with the adults.
Then there is Stephanie, whose life is interconnected with the Plumbs in various ways. What will ultimately bring her life into sharp focus in unexpected ways, and despite the absence of Leo, be the final thread that joins her with the Plumbs?
The story weaves the past and the present together in such a way that I felt as though the characters were people I might meet. Even the supporting characters were fleshed out, enriching the tapestry that made each of their lives real. Moments of sadness, joy, and hope, in the past and in the future…moments that might escape them all unless Leo does the right thing, brought me into the midst of their dilemma, wanting to see how it would all unfold. Then the conclusion came, and although it was not what I thought it would be, it was truly satisfying. 5 stars.