Barefoot, thirtysomething Amber shows up at the door of a Norfolk cottage that the Smarts are renting for the summer. Amber doesn't know them, but she talks her way in, telling lies, and stays for dinner. Eve, an author, thinks Amber is a student her husband is sleeping with. Michael, an English professor, knows only that her car broke down. Daughter Astrid, age 12, thinks she's her mother's friend. Son Magnus, 17, thinks she's an angel.
"I do not recommend"
Deeply affected by a teenaged affair with a man nearly three times her age, Marcy Bunkleman subtly shapes the lives of everyone she meets. As she and the people closest to her tell their stories, an incredible picture emerges of secrets and lies, of knowledge and ignorance, and gradually of people longing to recapture those moments of effortless goodness in their lives. As Huddle gently strips away the layers of stories we tell ourselves and others, we find the strengths and weaknesses of people like ourselves.
The novel opens in England in 1915, at the deathbed of Dorothy Townsend, a suffragist and one of the first women to integrate Cambridge University. Her decision to starve herself for the cause informs and echoes in the later, overlapping narratives of her descendants.
No one has captured the complexities of marriage at middle age better than Elizabeth Buchan. Now she is back with another irresistibly entertaining and thoughtful tale of two women at the crossroads of love, of freedom, who wonder: Where does happiness lie?