A great big thank you Ms. Williams for returning with a wonderfully sophisticated story, Tiny Little Thing.
Tiny Little Thing hit many marks for me and it was one where I gobbled it up in just a few sittings, a perfect accompaniment during my days sitting outside and reading on the patio. With its political backstory it is something of a timely type of read as well. :-) Described as “a collision of political ambition and secrets of the heart“, we are introduced to another member of the Schuyler family, as we have in her other novels, A Hundred Summers and The Secret Life of Violet Grant. This time, Christina “Tiny” (Schuyler) Hardcastle.
I mention “sophisticated” because I ventured cautiously toward picking up Tiny Little Thing after reading The Secret Life of Violet Grant. Violet Grant was one I reached for eagerly since it followed the highly enjoyable A Hundred Summers. However, I really did not enjoy how “tawdry” (the word I keep using to describe it) it was. At all. Hence, my cautiousness for Tiny Little Thing. Would we be continuing down this path of hearing all about throbbing thighs and pulsating members again? Wonderfully though…no, we did not! Hurray! Ms. Williams has truly given us a great story and a great character in this one. Plenty of secrets, intrigue and romance too, but not a throbbing or pulsating member mentioned.
It’s 1966 and Tiny is preparing for her life to change into an increasingly public one alongside her husband, Frank, as he begins the race towards the United States Congress. From there, nothing should stop him from one day becoming President. This is the great American dream and the one Frank has been destined for. There has been a great deal of work gone into this dream by Frank’s family and this vision, this powerful and very American image can only be achieved with Tiny by his side. She is told over and over by, not just her husband, but his family too, that she is the “perfect wife”, they make the perfect couple. This is her destiny just as much as it is Frank’s.
And here, where the details of the expectations required of Tiny in turning into the great political wife are drawn, is where I really settled in and enjoyed the story. Williams pays wonderful attention to the breadth and depth of knowledge, know how and intellectual power that the “first lady” of sorts is expected to hold. Oh no, don’t you ever think these women sat idly by as trophies on their husband’s arms. They were required, expected and groomed to know every detail about their guests, their donors, how to put on elaborate and well run political dinners, etc. The people in the campaign, as well as the public expected this. These parts of the story were probably some of my favourites. When reading, I could completely and totally picture Jacqueline Kennedy the entire time.
Like her other novels, Williams again treats us to all kinds of secrets in Tiny Little Thing. These secrets, held by both Tiny and her husband Frank, threaten to topple the family’s carefully built ambitions and could unravel Frank’s very promising political career.
With the arrival of Frank’s dashing cousin Caspian, a Vietnam War hero that Frank uses to his advantage on the campaign trail, marks the first crack in Tiny’s carefully guarded secrets of her life before she married Frank. Not knowing Caspian was Frank’s cousin at the time of meeting him, they carried out a very brief affair which is now threatened to be exposed when Tiny receives an envelope with an incriminating photograph inside. But as Tiny works to keep this from becoming a bigger issue, she is starting to realize that Frank is also guarding his own secrets.
Should both of their secrets spill out, it would mean considerable ruin for both Tiny, but especially Frank. As things seem to spiral out of control, Tiny and Frank seemingly come to terms with what their future lives may hold. And if you think the ending of Tiny Little Thing is leaving you hanging just a bit, that is all intentional, because there is to be another book in this “series”, and it is due out this Fall (November). Along the Infinite Sea will continue to take us along Tiny’s journey, and after closing the final pages of Tiny Little Thing, I was eagerly, eagerly awaiting the arrival of Along the Infinite Sea.
Happily, (I did a little dance when I opened it!) an advanced reading copy of Along the Infinite Sea arrived for me courtesy of G.P. Putnam’s Sons! I need to thank them as well for sending me a copy of Tiny Little Thing. I love having this gorgeous book cover grace my bookshelf!
I was so happy to have read this wonderful and sophisticated novel and now I am highly anticipating and truly hoping for the same level of sophistication in the next instalment. Excitedly, I get to read it sooner rather than later! And I highly recommend Tiny Little Thing! (and A Hundred Summers too.) I’ll let you know soon enough about Along the Infinite Sea too! ;-)