Quirky and off-beat, yet heart-felt, this novel will astound you. At times, its laugh-out-loud funny and other times profoundly moving. At the heart of this idiosyncratic novel are the Rockwells who lives in Ocean City, N.J. They love to tell people they bear no relation to the illustrator, Norman Rockwell.

In fact, nothing about the Rockwells is typical. They come from a long line of profiteers and though they are rich, they are not sociable. They never go to the boardwalk and mingle with others who are not like them. The girls live with their eccentric Mom who claims their absent Dad is a U.S. spy.

Hurricane Sandy, one of the worst storms in history, brings upheaval and upends their world. After the storm badly damages a house, a man arrives at their door with a box of letters reportedly belonging to their absent Dad.

All of Augusta’s secrets start coming to the surface resulting ultimately in the girl confronting the old spy. Though he has been absent, he has critically interfered in their lives which infuriates the girls. The storm brings all the sisters in to confront their Dad on this while also brings past slights and recriminations to the surface.

Liv accused Ru, who is a writer, of stealing her life for the plot of her book. Liv and Esme are at odds. Liv has always considered herself the prettiest Rockwell girl. When Esme brings her own daughter, a wise-cracking, live-tweeting adolescent into the mix, things get further out of hand.

While Nick, the absent Dad, tries to make up for lost years, the girls realize several important truths. This novel about the bonds of sisterhood and the depth of parental love would make for a great book discussion.

Chantal W.