The Plumbs are not alright. Four semi-estranged New York siblings each sunk in their own financial and emotional quicksand, they’re sure of one thing: When the youngest, Melody, turns 40, they’ll finally have access to “the Nest”—an inheritance that with luck and careful tending has bloomed far past the modest stipend their father originally intended. But when prodigal son Leo drives his Porsche off a Hamptons road one summer night with a teenage waitress who is not his wife in the passenger seat, the family’s chilly matriarch turns unexpectedly—and for the other three Plumbs, disastrously—generous, draining the trust to settle the ensuing mess. She doesn’t know how much stay-at-home mom Melody and antiques dealer Jack have both mortgaged their futures against those long-promised funds. Though truthfully, she probably wouldn’t care much if she did. And neither does Leo, a former enfant terrible of Manhattan’s publishing scene whose wit, charm, and movie-star jawline continue to carry him through life long after his career ambitions have curdled. Only middle sister Beatrice—herself a former literary wunderkind—stands apart, watching as they all scrap and scheme for their portion of the Nest. (There are also diverting side plots involving Melody’s twin daughters and a lonely 9/11 first responder, among others.)

It’s easy to see why Sweeney’s debut earned her a seven-figure advance and early praise from fans including Amy Poehler and Elizabeth Gilbert. Her writing is like really good dark chocolate: sharper and more bittersweet than the cheap stuff, but also too delicious not to finish in one sitting. A–

The Nest
2016 book
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