Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
From the publisher:
In the summer of 1966, Christina Hardcastle—“Tiny” to her illustrious family—stands on the brink of a breathtaking future. Of the three Schuyler sisters, she’s the one raised to marry a man destined for leadership, and with her elegance and impeccable style, she presents a perfect camera-ready image in the dawning age of television politics. Together she and her husband, Frank, make the ultimate power couple: intelligent, rich, and impossibly attractive. It seems nothing can stop Frank from rising to national office, and he’s got his sights set on a senate seat in November.
But as the season gets underway at the family estate on Cape Cod, three unwelcome visitors appear in Tiny’s perfect life: her volatile sister Pepper, an envelope containing incriminating photograph, and the intimidating figure of Frank’s cousin Vietnam-war hero Caspian, who knows more about Tiny’s rich inner life than anyone else. As she struggles to maintain the glossy façade on which the Hardcastle family’s ambitions are built, Tiny begins to suspect that Frank is hiding a reckless entanglement of his own…one that may unravel both her own ordered life and her husband’s promising career.
Beatriz Williams hasn’t disappointed me yet, and I can say that even though I didn’t love this novel as much as I did her previous ones. I’ve come to expect a kind of formula with her books that includes dual storylines – one “present” and one “past”, with two different main characters. Tiny Little Thing sort of has two storylines, but they are only set two years apart, and they both feature the same main character – Tiny. That being said, I liked Tiny a lot, so while I missed the historical element that most of her other books had, I didn’t mind as much because I enjoyed reading about Tiny throughout the entire book.
As always, Williams does a great job with her characters and the relationships between them. There are some really great scenes between Tiny and someone who must not be named for fear of a spoiler, some hilarious scenes between Tiny and her sister Pepper, and the dialogue around this insanely privileged, rich family is laughable but weirdly compelling (the sexism and misogyny, while annoying, is probably historically and demographically accurate). I liked the going back and forth between the two time periods, even though they were only a few years apart, because it gave some depth to this story that might have otherwise been sort of good but not great. Tiny went from a blah character to an very complex one before my eyes, and I liked that Williams kept up the dual narrative thing going with this book.
Tiny Little Thing does suffer a bit from being the second book in a trilogy – it’s not as exciting as the first book, and while I haven’t read the third yet, I’ve heard only amazing things about it – but I did enjoy it quite a bit. Even an okay book by Williams is great compared to lots of other novels, and I really loved getting to know Tiny. By the end of the book, I can truly say that I was rooting for her to find the love and happiness that I felt she deserved. Again, not my favorite Beatriz Williams of all time, but still a solid novel that I liked a lot.