The Why of Things

In Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop's The Why of Things, a horrifying event causes an already fractured family to further splinter... or does it?

It's been a rough year for the Jacobs family since the beautiful and accomplished Sophie Jacobs took her own life. Her parents struggle with guilt and disconnection, her teenage sister, Eve, turns into an angry rebel and youngest sister Eloise is frightened of the prospect that Sophie's ghost is haunting her. The last thing the family needs is more misery, but one year after Sophie's death, a young man commits suicide by driving his truck into the quarry of the family's summer home.

Rather than turning inward after this latest tragedy, Sophie's mother, Joan, is forced to reach out to another mother experiencing her exact grief. Eve, determined to solve the mystery of the circumstances surrounding the crash, finds a channel for her furious energy while Eloise adopts the deceased young man's dog.

Hartley Winthrop (Fireworks) draws you into a warm embrace and you are truly sorry when the book ends. Her characters are so superbly written that you feel intimately acquainted with them as she weaves her words into a seamless tableau. The Why of Things is a novel without romance, but certainly not without love. It's a tale of a family facing their worst fears and realizing that life does indeed go on. Mostly, though, it's a reminder that in this lifetime, there are some mysteries that remain unsolved. --Natalie Papailiou, author of blog MILF: Mother I'd Like to Friend

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