Stella is leading a life of empty promise in New York City, occasionally checking on her fragile grandmother Lucy, who lives in Connecticut. But then, when Lucy begins the process of dying, she starts talking about Matilda, her long-estranged daughter…A second daughter that Stella didn’t even know about.
So after Lucy’s death, Stella finds out more from her mother Dora, and discovers the troubled history of Matilda (Tilly). She decides to go to Nevada, where Tilly now resides, and try to help her out. She wants to at least connect with her.
We gradually watch the bond develop between the two, when Stella moves Tilly to San Francisco to reconnect with her son Abe. Their lives seem to be back on track.
But like most addictions, the one that controls Tilly cannot be held at bay, and the life she is building begins to unravel.
The story unfolds in shifting perspectives, and alternate versions of each woman are revealed.
What happens then to create an extra layer of tension? And what further developments lead to a tragic outcome?
This story seemed to be a cautionary tale of all the dire consequences one can imagine. I felt depressed a good deal of the time as I read it, and by the time the story ended, I was glad it did.
Perhaps I would have enjoyed this book more if I were in a different place in my own life. But instead, I found the characters unappealing, and the ending of the story just happened…it seemingly fizzled out.
To its credit, though, there were important lessons to be told, and the process of addiction was accurately portrayed, and for those reasons, I did give The Gin Closet four stars.