Richard North Patterson is the author of twenty bestselling novels, including Degree of Guilt and Silent Witness. He has made appearances on "Good Morning America," "Hardball," and "The CBS Morning Show," and his articles on politics, literature, and law have been published in the London Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the San Jose Mercury News. He lives in Martha's Vineyard, Cabo San Lucas and San Francisco with his wife, Dr. Nancy Clair.
From the Hardcover edition.
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The day was bright and clear, and a headwind stirred his curly hair; absorbed in sailing, Ben barely seemed aware of Whitney sitting near the stern. While she did not mind the quiet, it felt as though he was playing the role of her indifferent crew. Then he finally spoke. “I wonder how many more times I’ll get to do this.”
“Because of the draft?”
Ben kept scanning the water. “Because of the war,” he said harshly. “What a pointless death that would be.”
Uneasy, Whitney thought of Peter’s safe haven in the National Guard. “You don’t believe we’re the firewall against Communism?”
His derisive smile came and went. “If you were some Vietnamese peasant, would you want to be ruled by a bunch of crooks and toadies? To win this war, we’d have to pave the entire country, then stay there for fifty years. And if we lose, what does that mean to us? That the Vietnamese are going to paddle thousand of miles across the Pacific to occupy San Francisco?”
Whitney had wondered, too. She chose to say nothing more.
The day grew muggy. Running before the wind, Ben headed toward Tarpaulin Cove, the shelter on an island little more than a sand spit. Hand on the tiller, he seemed more relaxed, his brain and sinews attuned to each shift in the breeze. It was not until they eased into the cove that Ben spoke to her again. “I brought an igloo filled with sandwiches and drinks. Think the two of us can swim it to the beach?”
Stripping down to her swimsuit, Whitney climbed down the rope ladder and began dogpaddling in the cool, invigorating water. Ben peeled off his T-shirt and dove in with the cooler, his sinewy torso glistening in the sun and water. Together, they floated it toward the shore, each paddling with one arm. At length, somewhat winded, they sat on the beach as the surf lapped at their feet. The Vineyard was barely visible; they had come a fair distance, Whitney realized, and yet the trip seemed to have swallowed time. This must be what sailing did for him.
For a time Whitney contented herself, as he did, with eating sandwiches and sipping a cool beer. Curious, she asked, “Is the war why you worked for Bobby?”
From acclaimed author Richard North Patterson comes a sweeping family drama of dark secrets and individual awakenings, set against the backdrop of the tumultuous summer of 1968.
America is in a state of turbulence, engulfed in civil unrest and uncertainty. Yet for Whitney Dane- spending the summer of her twenty-second year on Martha’s Vineyard--life could not be safer, nor the future more certain.
Educated at Wheaton, soon to be married, and the youngest daughter of the all-American Dane family, Whitney has everything she has ever wanted, and is everything her all-powerful and doting father, Charles Dane, wants her to be.
But the Vineyard’s still waters are disturbed by the appearance of Benjamin Blaine. An underprivileged, yet fiercely ambitious and charismatic figure, Blaine is a force of n“Loss of Innocence, second of a projected trilogy, is the compelling account of a family’s collapse amid multiple betrayals in the bloody year 1968. The book moves at high velocity, is grandly plotted with a crescendo of an ending. This is Richard North Patterson at the top of his game.” —Ward Just, author of An Unfinished Season and Rodin’s Debutante
“Like male novelists of the Nineteenth century, Richard North Patterson actually looks at the world through a woman's eyes. He tells us the story of a girl born into a derived identity, and her path toward who she is and what she wants. In one life of the 1960s, he symbolizes a movement that keeps changing all our lives.” —Gloria Steinem, author of Revolution from Within
“Wealthy, WASPY and protected, Whitney Dane lives a life of privilege under the seemingly benevolent patriarchy of her powerful father. At the family summer home on Martha's Vineyard, political violence and anti-war protests seem far away. But in the course of the season, cracks open in her closest relationships, exposing rot and darkness within and linking Whitney to the larger issues of race, class and corruption that roil the country. Richard North Patterson has created a richly textured romance, deftly set amid the seismic social shifts of 1968.” —Geraldine Brooks, author of Caleb’s Crossing
"At a time when the '60s are often vilified, Richard North Patterson revisits that era in this terrific new novel and reminds us that it was a time of moral awakening. Set in 1968, Loss of Innocence tells the story of a young woman's discovery of the true meaning of freedom. Moving into new territory with this coming-of-age novel, Patterson is a great storyteller." —Carol Gilligan, author of Kyra and In Other Voices
“Loss of Innocence is a stunning tour de force by one of my favorite novelists. This coming-of-age story electrifies with the authenticity of the Sixties—the sex, politics, language, mores and music. And Martha's Vineyard, with its heartbreaking beauty, is the ideal setting for an engrossing drama of a so-called perfect family riven by its secrets. Richard North Patterson, always brilliant, is better than ever.” —Linda Fairstein, author of The Deadhouse
“Loss of Innocence is an extraordinary novel—profound, emotionally involving and totally addictive. This may be Richard North Patterson's best work: surprising and different, yet with the same ability to penetrate the minds of others—especially women, which is a rare gift.” —Stephen Fry, The Fry Chronicles
“A snapshot of America at a pivotal moment in history, and a beautifully written coming-of-age novel.” —Lady Antonia Fraser, author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII and Must You Go?
"A title that is dripping with summer diversions, youthful passion and ideals, class tensions, and familial disruptions makes for wonderful reading whatever the season." —Library Journal (starred)
“Set in the summer and fall of a pivotal year in American history, 1968 . . . Patterson’s latest offers up an appealing family drama set against the backdrop of a radically tumultuous and influential time.” —Kristine Huntley, Booklist
“Patterson's family drama thrives on the expected . . . Patterson writes a family saga of class and money, power and pretense, love and loyalty. Think The Thorn Birds or Rich Man, Poor Man among the Martha’s Vineyard moneyed set.”—Kirkus Reviews
"Mr. Patterson has crafted a richly-layered look at the loss of innocence not only among his characters but that which America lost as a natio