It is the start of a long, hot summer. Cherry and Baby are working at the pickle plant – everyone in Sweet Valley does this sooner or later – saving for the final year of their art degrees. As the machines hum and pulse with heat, the only relief is the wind-chill factor, the occasional breeze that evaporates the skin’s film of sweat and draws the heat off for a few seconds.
Cherry is over six foot, thin as a reed with pale skin and wild blonde hair. She has been brought up in the Holiness Church, as innocent and naive as it is possible to be. Baby is beautiful and petite, an Oriental jewel, sassy and damaged – and Cherry’s protector. But nobody can protect Cherry from real life this summer and it begins when Carlene is dragged murdered from the lake. And when the boys come home from Vietnam, in an indefinable way the war comes back too, seeping into everyone’s lives as the awful truth begins to unravel about who killed Carlene and why.
Reviews of Windchill Summer
“Totally engrossing, with wonderful unpredictable characters.” PENNY VINCENZI
“This is an impressive, ambitious debut in which Church Mailer successfully marries a thriller to a coming of age novel. Confidently plotted, the novel’s initial easy pace builds to a strong climax when the Vietnam war is brought brutally back home.” OBSERVER
“Evocative language brilliantly recreates the place and the period in which she grew up. She has combined tragedy with comedy, acute comment and well-made plot in a memorable novel.” SUNDAY TELEGRAPH