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Review: `The Jetsetters' is story of a dysfunctional family

This cover image released by Random House shows "The Jetsetters," a novel by Amanda Eyre Ward. (Random House via AP)
March 05, 2020 - 10:21 AM

“The Jetsetters: a Novel," Ballantine Books, by Amanda Eyre Ward

Family vacations abroad can be an experience of a lifetime for some families. For others, the thought of being stuck with loved ones having “forced fun” is a recipe for disaster. Especially if that adventure takes place on a cruise ship.

In “The Jetsetters” by Amanda Eyre Ward, Charlotte Perkins is enjoying her golden years for the most part. On the outside everything seems to be good, but she struggles with loneliness. Which is why she enters an essay contest to “Become a Jetsetter.” To her surprise, she's selected and finds herself bound for Europe.

Not wanting to travel alone, Charlotte crafts a plan to invite her three estranged children to traipse through Athens, Rome and Barcelona. With a little bit of persuasion and a ton of guilt, the Perkins kids begrudgingly pack their bags and hide their secrets. Lee calls herself a popular actress. Even though her resume technically doesn’t reflect that fact, she doesn’t want to come clean to her family just yet. Her brother Cord is an attractive, successful businessman from Manhattan. Charlotte is determined to find him a wife on the boat. And Regan is a doting mother and dutiful wife who wants nothing more than a little freedom from the everyday grind.

With each passing day, the three kids open up to one another about an old family drama and current troubles weighing them down. Old wounds are reopened, truths are revealed and secrets are shared.

Alternating between each family member’s point of view gives “The Jetsetters” a unique perspective on each character, Ray writes.

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