Knowing that I shouldn’t judge the characters on first impressions, I might have stuck with Local Knowledge; however, it was the setting that was upsetting. Many of us are tracking where our reading travels take us this year, and I never have been a reader who quibbles with every deviation from the geography of a place in a book. If I’m enjoying the journey, the liberties an author might take with what streets intersect or where a particular restaurant is never bother me. With Local Knowledge, however, I just couldn’t get my bearings. Local Knowledge emphasizes, well, local knowledge (a Paxton Mountain Road versus a Paxton Hill Road) but left me as a reader with no grounding in setting. Characters hail from Manhattan and are looking for a weekend house in the country. Western Connecticut? Western Massachusetts? North and east of New York City? I had finally decided on the last given the many references to “upstate” and the reference to the movie theater in Albany. Then I was knocked off these bearings with reference to one of the main characters (in his teenage years in the middle 80s) eschewing the obligatory “backward-facing Red Sox cap.” Well, there went CT and NY and there I was—reader in search of a setting.
I left my bookmark at page 67. Maybe when I’ve whittled down the TBR hills a bit I’ll grab a compass and revisit Maddie Alden and friends to see if I can regain my bearings and agree with all of the five-star ratings this book has received.