Eden close is the first novel by acclaimed romance author, Anita Shreve. In this novel, Andrew returns to his childhood home to bury his mother and prepare the house for sale. The more time Andrew spends in this home he has rarely visited in nineteen years, the more memories of his childhood flood his mind. Many of these memories centre on Eden close, his childhood friend and neighbour. Eden was blinded the summer Andrew left for college in a home invasion that resulted in the death of her father. However, the more Andrew remembers about this fateful night and the year leading up to it the more he realizes the truth about that night has never been revealed. Eden close is a story of one women’s tragic childhood and the man who has loved her all his life. Andrew is attempting to sleep in the night after his mother’s funeral, but being in his childhood bedroom has brought back nightmares of a night he had though he had forgotten. The night was hot and humid, much like this one, when Andrew heard screams from the house next door.
Andrew stood in the yard with his mother as they brought Eden, his friends, out of the house her head wrapped in a bloodied towel. Andrews father came out of the house a few minutes later and told them Jim close Eden’s father was dead. Someone had broken into the house and was raping Eden when Jim walked in on it. The intruder shot Jim and ran away, disappearing into the night. Andrew recalls asking Eden a few times on his rare visits home. However, Andrews’s life moved into other directions. Andrew married, had a son and is now separated. Asking about Eden in front of his wife had always seemed wrong so eventually he stopped asking. Andrew believes however, that Eden never left his thoughts. Over the next few days, as he works at fixing up the house for sale, Andrew remembers being in the garden behind his house when Edith came to his mother with a small bundle in her arms. It was infant, abandoned by the road.
Andrew remembers how Jim close was excited by the baby, determined to keep it despite his wife’s apathy. Jim spoiled Eden, buying her anything she wanted and lavishing all his attention on her. At the same time Edith his wife, ignored the child until her cries were unavoidable. Edith and Eden never had a good relationship. Through the years, they could often be heard screaming at one another, fighting over some unforgivable act.
When Andrew was fourteen Eden eleven, she began hanging out with him and his friends. Andrews recalls how his friends resented her at, but first but came to accept her constant presence. It was three years of happiness as far as Andrew was concerned, afternoons playing hockey or swimming. However, it all came to a crushing end when Eden got her first menstrual period and stopped coming around preferring to spend afternoons getting a tan.
When school began again, rumours circulated that Eden was promiscuous, willing to share her body with any boy asking. Eden began dating Sean that year too, one of Andrews’s closest friends, Andrew was jealous, unsure why and became angry whenever some would speak openly about Eden’s behaviour. Then that night happened an Andrew went away, losing touch Eden for good.
Andrew is back now and these memories drew him to house next door. Andrew begins visiting Eden, waiting until Edith, goes to work and careful to leave before she returns. Andrew takes Eden to the old pond where they once played hockey and swam. They make love for the first time, fulfilling a fantasy Andrew has held onto for nineteen years. Andrew is frightened however, aware of how vulnerable Eden is and the impact of what he has done and will do, might affect her. Andrew thinks of leaving but is unable to let Eden go.
Andrew continues to see Eden, lavishing her with gifts and indulging in constant expression of affections, Andrew becomes more aware of the outside world and his need to return to it. Andrew asks Eden to go with him but she refuses. Andrew pushes her, finally getting her to admit to the sexual abuse her father peretrated on her as a child. As they discuss the past, Edith walks in on them and attempts to shoot Eden with a shotgun. It is then that Andrew finally realizes what really happened that night Jim dies. It was Edith jealousy. Edith shot Jim and wounded Eden in an attempt to kill her for taking her husband’s affections away. Edith is placed in a mental institute and Eden agrees to leave with Andrew, excited to begin a new life outside the barriers of her secrets.
The story has a slow, meandering quality with an undercurrent of mystery you as the reader suspect that things may go a bit awry, or take an unsuspected turn, as you approach the end of the story. Anita Shreve writes with so much emotion, lyrical literacy, making insanity sane. Her relationships ring true and are full of passion, both good and bad and great detail, I felt like I was there in the story with the characters. Once I got past the first couple of chapters, I really couldn’t put it down. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading a good story about the tragedies of life and love.
Out of five stars I give this book four. I only would not give it five stars because I thought that it takes a couple of chapters to get hooked. The first couple chapters are just explaining things having to do with Andrew’s mother’s funeral, and I didn’t find it the most entertaining parts. The reason I did not give up on this book was because I really wanted to know the ending and who the killer was! Overall, it was a really enjoyable.