TINY LITTLE THING by Beatriz Williams Reviewed

Beatriz Williams

June 23rd, 2015
G. P. Putnam and Sons
TINY LITTLE THING by Beatriz Williams is a superb read. It combines politics, mystery and romance within a historical background. It is a character driven story line based on the issues of the mid-1960s, including political intrigue, the controversy of the Vietnam veterans, and the treatment of women.

The story alternates between the years 1964 and 1966. The reader becomes engrossed in the family dynamics. The narration switches between the main female character, Christina (Tiny) Hardcastle’s 1966 perspective and Major Caspian (Cap) Harrison’s 1964 outlook. The plot begins with Tiny’s husband, Frank, attending the Medal of Honor Ceremony for his cousin Caspian. Frank sees this as a valued photo-op, which will help his run for Congress in Massachusetts. Intertwined in the political plotline is a mystery involving a photograph sent to Tiny and a car found in the Cape Cod shed of her husband’s family. Throughout the rest of the book readers become part of the character’s lives, being transported into the 1960’s era, as they try to solve the secrets along with the characters.

One of the most fascinating characters is Major Caspian, who is modeled after John Wayne: strong, silent, a hero, masculine, and honest. He becomes Tiny’s savior who is trying to escape living the perfect façade. Initially she has no say in her marriage, expected to be the perfect political wife. Together with her husband they are seen as the ultimate power couple: intelligent, rich, and attractive. They must both live-up to their parent’s expectations. But with the help of her sister Pepper Schuyler, she gains strength and fights for her independence.

A supporting character, Tom, plays the antagonist to Caspian’s protagonist. Explored in depth is the issue about how US soldiers were treated when they returned home from Vietnam. Tom is constantly putting Cap down for enlisting and fighting in Vietnam. Throughout the book he makes disgusting references to the Major, “I can’t sit here and eat dinner with these people. You fat, satisfied pigs who give medals to fucking murderers.” Yet, it is the major that grabs reader’s sympathies.

There is also a shout out to wounded warriors in the dedication and through Caspian, a paraplegic who lost a leg during the war. William’s writes, “To all those who return from war not quite whole and to the people who love them.” The story allows the reader to understand the sacrifices those serving have made for their country.

TINY LITTLE THING is a fascinating look at wealth, love, power, ambition, and to what length family members will go to protect each other. The historical events in the book are intertwined perfectly within the lives of the characters that make for a realistic and gripping story.

Elise Cooper