Bert Cousins arrives at a christening party in California with a great big bottle of gin and falls in love with beautiful Beverly, the mother of the baby being celebrated. Two marriages end and the future of six children is changed forever. Ann Patchett has written a novel that spans five decades in the lives of two families. Bert and Beverly move to Virginia with her two young daughters, leaving Bert's four children with his overwhelmed ex-wife. The kids are thrown together each summer when Bert's kids visit him and Beverly. They are mostly left to their own devices and manage to get up to some pretty serious mischief. There is a tragedy from which the novel ripples out and back again in time. It comes full circle with Bert and Franny, the baby who was being christened a half a century earlier, sitting down with a bottle of gin. It's an engrossing look at the blended family that results from a kiss at a party. It's full of what ifs. The novel is told from the diverse perspectives of the many family members and explores the question of who owns their story and who gets to tell it. I enjoyed it very much.