Author: Liza Klaussmann
Tigers in Red Weather is an intriguing tale that follows five lead characters and spans a period of almost 25 years, beginning in the final stages of World War II.
I wasn’t sure whether I was going to enjoy this novel with it’s WWII backdrop and married bliss but at the same time I wasn’t sure what to expect. I certainly enjoyed it more than I anticipated and it kept me thinking throughout. The title certainly had me curious and it didn’t fit with the image on the cover of a beautiful woman in a yellow bathing suit.
The significance of the bathing suit is explained rather early on but the title didn’t come clear until the very end, and now I know where it came from but I’m still a little confused.
Tigers in Red Weather has five lead characters and the story is told from each perspective, so at times you will read the same incident multiple times. It was definitely interesting to read the same incident from different points of view because there were times you had to wonder if they really were the same incident. The first four sections are told in the third person with a narrator we never identify and yet the last part is told in the first person which leads me to think that this is his story. There may be five lead characters, all with interesting storylines of their own but the novel is undoubtedly his story.
Beginning in the end stages of WWII with Nick and Helena, who are two young women ready to embark on new lives further apart than they have ever been. It took me a while to get my head around Nick being a woman, for some reason it sounded very masculine in my head. Nick and Helena are cousins who have grown up in close proximity to one another and during the war share a house in Cambridge. The book begins on the eve of a grand new adventure for the pair, each of them is leaving their little shared house and moving on to married life. Nick with the man she married who then went off to war and left her behind; and Helena is crossing the country to find wedded bliss with second husband Avery Lewis in Hollywood.
Hughes is Nick’s husband, a war veteran who returned unharmed but still a different man. He seems distant and closed off from Nick, their marriage isn’t quite what either of them expected. There is also the next generation of cousins in Daisy and Ed.
In a nutshell (perhaps more apt than intended) these are our five leads and they take us from Cambridge in 1945 to 1969 with most of the story playing out at Tiger House, the holiday house passed down to Nick.
Tiger House is where the cream of society spend their summers and have their fun. It’s also where Daisy and Ed are forced to grow up, maybe not quite the way anyone envisioned for them.
The characters are unique and well fleshed, each of them flawed though some more so than others. It is these flaws that make it so difficult to put together the pieces early on, there is enough uncertainty that you can’t quite be sure what you think happened and made for quite an interesting sense of suspense.
Emotional turmoil is rife throughout and there aren’t a great deal of happy days, for anyone. Secrets abound and each of the leads lets you in on some to make for a debut novel overflowing with passion, betrayal and booze. Some surprising twists and the added insight of differing accounts of the same incident.
Thank you Klaussmann for such an engaging debut and I will be sure to watch out for what’s to follow.