Multi-layered domestic dramas are Margot Livesey's specialty. In Mercury, she again probes contradictions in human relationships, this time orbiting the often perilous abyss of middle age and casting her gaze on matters of perception in both literal and figurative terms.

Donald Stevenson is a staid, 39-year-old surgical ophthalmologist-turned-optometrist who lives and works in a Boston suburb. In humble, intimate prose that percolates with impending tragedy, Donald recalls his life and tells how a chasm developed between him and Viv, his wife of nine years. A restless and impulsive former mutual fund financier, Viv gave up her unfulfilling professional life to pursue her earlier life's passion for horses, co-managing a stable called Windy Hill. There she cares for Mercury, a five-year-old, dapple-gray Thoroughbred, and forges such a deep bond that she pins her affections, hopes and dreams of winning a horse-riding championship upon the horse. After Windy Hill sustains a mysterious break-in, Viv--whose myopic, first-person account is sandwiched between Donald's telling of events--conveys how she secretly took security matters into her own hands to keep her adored Mercury from danger. The consequences of this decision become far reaching, life changing and soul shattering.

Livesey (The Flight of Gemma Hardy) is a reflective, insightful writer. She offers a well-drawn supporting cast and skillfully unravels details that heighten the suspense and surprise of a sobering story. She delves into divisive aspects of deceit, desire, regret and ideals, and how the choices people make can affect and torment innocent lives in extraordinary ways. --Kathleen Gerard, blogger at Reading Between the Lines

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