This book is told from the viewpoint of Eve, who, at the start of the book, is telling her grandson about the memories she has of Marryat Island Ballroom and Lodge, which was owned by her uncle. She has gone back there to retrieve a wooden box which is very special to her as it holds some small items that carry nostalgic and precious meaning for her. The Lodge is set to be torn down and her grandson takes her to find the box she left behind. Eve lived there for some time in 1931 after her father lost his job at Ford Motor Company. The country is in the midst of the Great Depression, and prohibition is in force. Her uncle offers Eve's family room and board in exchange for help with the place, which is bustling despite the Depression. Eve loves living there, until she learns some secrets that ruin her idyllic view of her uncle and her family.
Prohibition plays a huge part in this story, as does Jones, her cousin who happens to be albino. She didn't know of Jones' existence as he was kept hidden away, but she doesn't see him as "different" and helps him to be more at ease with people. Also playing a role is Link, a man who presents himself as a hobo looking for food. Her uncle always feeds those who need it, and he feeds Link as he does many of the men who live down the road in a shantytown. Most lost their jobs and are trying to find work to support their families left behind.
I loved this book and hated to see it end. It vividly describes the Lodge, the dances held in the pavillion, the innocence lost, the cool swims in the river. It's a great summer read.