Shelf Awareness for Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Lorena Jones Books: Black, White, and the Grey: The Story of an Unexpected Friendship and a Beloved Restaurant by Mashama Bailey and John O Morisano

Algonquin Books: Libertie by Kaitlyn Greenidge

Scribner Book Company: Milk Fed by Melissa Broder

Shelf Awareness: Click Here to Post Your Job

News

Image of the Day: Author Treat

 

Last Thursday at the AWP in Washington, D.C.: (from l.) Tanya Egan Gibson (How to Buy a Love of Reading), Barbara Drummond Mead (president of Reading Group Choices), Therese Fowler (Reunion, Souvenir), Siobhan Fallon (You Know When the Men Are Gone), Rebecca Rasmussen (The Bird Sisters), Heidi Durrow (The Girl Who Fell From the Sky), Carolyn Leavitt (Pictures of You), Eleanor Brown (The Weird Sisters), Sarah Pekkanen (Skipping a Beat, The Opposite of Me).



Book Industry Charitable Foundation: Double your donation!


Notes: Paging Kindles; Some Thriving New York Indies

Kindle owners can expect a free software update soon. Some of the new features include page numbering that corresponds to the book's print edition; public notes, which allow readers to share highlights and comments; and links to rate the book, share with social networks and see more titles by the same author. The update will be rolled out via wi-fi.

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"In retailing's version of a David and Goliath story, the independent bookstore is making a comeback in New York," said Crain's New York Business, which noted the opening in "the past couple of years" of more than half a dozen indies, including Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, Book Culture in upper Manhattan and Posman Books in Chelsea.

Crain's wrote: "They're also a sign of a larger truth in business: that nimble operators can adjust to a changed landscape better than some bigger players."

Among a mix of interesting tidbits: sales at Posman's Chelsea Market store, which opened in September 2009, rose 22% in January compared to the same period in 2010. First-year revenue was more than $1 million, and Posman is close to signing a 10-year lease for the space.

Next month owner Robert Fader plans to renovate the store, which, Crain's said, has a strong customer base among residents, tourists and people who work in the building, "like the Food Network staffers who buy from the strong selection of cookbooks."

By contrast, sales at Posman's Grand Central Terminal store have been declining for the past two years because hardcover bestsellers, a favorite of commuters, are being bought more and more as e-books.

Book Culture, which opened a second store in November 2009, had sales of $750,000 in its first year at that location. December and January sales were up 30%. Owner Chris Doeblin hopes to have sales of more than $1 million this year.

The nearby older Book Culture store has seen sales drop 25% during the past five years.

Greenlight had sales of $1.1 million in the year after it opened in October 2009--and turned a profit. The store stocks about 25,000 titles. Co-owner Rebecca Fitting contrasted that nicely to the average book superstore's larger offering, saying, "If you have a wall of text, you can't see any of it. We narrow it down to human scale."

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SecondRun Bookstore, the used bookstore branch of RiverRun Bookstore, Portsmouth, N.H., is shutting permanently at the end of the week and is being merged into RiverRun, seacoastonline.com reported. RiverRun was closed yesterday and will be closed today so that changes can be made to accommodate new inventory from SecondRun. New and used books will be sold together.

Owner Tom Holbrook explained in an e-mail to customers: "We opened SecondRun four years ago because we were sad that all the used bookstores in town had closed up shop. It has been great fun, but the truth of the matter is we can sell many more used books on Congress Street [RiverRun's location] than we can on Commercial Alley, and rent costs money. Our lease is up, and it's time to go."

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A fire last Saturday that destroyed a building in downtown Lowville, N.Y., severely damaged a neighboring building where Wild Root Bookstore and Gift Gallery is located, myABC50.com reported.

Owners Dean and Shay Richards said the books in the store are "a total loss" but that they saved some artwork and crafts made by local artists and craftspeople. Dean Richards said, "We were able to save the most valuable work which is the work of our artistans. The book store represents our livelihood, my wife and myself, but it's also an extension of the livelihood of all the artistans that exhibit here because this is a primary location for them to sell their wares. So, the loss of the bookstore is a loss to them as well."

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It's that time of the year again: the Annapolis Bookstore, Annapolis, Md., is sponsoring its third annual 24-hour Read-in-Bedathon, in which a variety of people, including "some of our customers and town personalities," will curl up and read in the store's bed. The Read-in-Bedathon starts this Friday at 6 p.m. and ends on Saturday at 6 p.m.

Reader/bed recliners sign up for spots. Pajamas are apparently up to them. But the store will provide milk and cookies.

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Congratulations to Perseus Books Group, whose digital printing service at its Jackson, Tenn., warehouse has printed its millionth book. The title was A Geography of Time by Robert Levine, first published by Basic Books in 1997.

The digital printing program is a joint effort with Edwards Brothers printers and has added a third shift because of "an explosion of interest," Perseus CEO David Steinberger said. He added that the service is part of Constellation, which is designed for independent publishers, and aims to address "all things digital: digital discovery, digital asset management, digital printing, digital marketing, e-book sales."

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McSweeney's offers "some good news from the world of books," based on research it conducted in the past year. It focused in part on the number of titles sold:

"According to Nielsen's BookScan--a sales-monitoring service widely regarded as representing 70 to 75 percent of trade sales--Americans bought 751,729,000 books in 2010. Excepting 2008 and 2009, when sales reaches 757 million and 777 million, respectively, that's many millions more books sold than in any other year BookScan has recorded. (Five years earlier, in 2005, the total was just 650 million.)

"The decline from the all-time high of 2009 can't be overlooked, but it's worth remembering—in 2010, in the middle of a crippling recession, with unemployment in the double digits, people still bought more than 750 million books. (In all likelihood, quite a few more, considering BookScan's tendency to underestimate.) In fact, we're at an all-time high in just about every category and every measurement."

But, here's a bit of cold water about McSweeney's statistics and conclusions from Jane Friedman on her Writer's Digest blog, There Are No Rules.

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Sudden book trailer of the day: Gotta Have It: 69 Stories of Sudden Sex edited by Rachel Kramer Bussel (Cleis Press). The trailer features 17 of the 69 contributors.

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"Eminem is becoming a force in the literary world," according to USA Today, which reported that in addition to writing two books--Angry Blonde and The Way I Am--the rapper's lyrics are "giving him credibility among writers."

Seamus Heaney said Eminem "created a sense of what is possible. He has sent a voltage around a generation. He has done this not just through his subversive attitude but also his verbal energy."

Janet Evanovich called him "an incredibly talented rapper, and the videos matched the energy of the music perfectly."

Marjorie Liu noted that Eminem "is unflinching in the stories he tells and the dark places he goes. Not everyone has the courage to do that."

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A dog-eared Kindle for print book fans: Newsbiscuit imagined a new generation of Kindles aimed at traditional book readers. The Kindle DE "has been fashioned from high performance materials to provide a shabby looking player with creased corners, giving the reader the comfortable impression that their book is a well-thumbed edition. This blends seamlessly with the tea and coffee stains that appear randomly on the e-pages."

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Fifteen unpublished works by Dashiell Hammett were discovered by Andrew Gulli among the literary archives of the Harry Ransom Centre at the University of Texas in Austin. He will publish one of the stories in the Strand magazine later this month and "hopes to eventually help publish them all as a collection in a new book," the Guardian reported.

"There are some very, very good pieces of fiction here," Gulli said. "Some of them are classic Hammett and fit in with the style we know and others are very different and go off to places that were a different direction for him." the editor said.

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Effective March 14, Jill Lamar is joining Henry Holt as editor in chief. She had been director of Barnes & Noble's Discover Great New Writers program since 1999 and was the driving force behind B&N Recommends.

Lamar is making a return to publishing: before working at B&N, she was a project editor at BDD Audio and earlier had been associate editor at Dell.

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Kaplan Publishing has made the following changes:

  • Allison Risko has been named senior v-p, content management and strategy. She was formerly senior v-p of learning services for Kaplan EduNeering, and previously held positions with Wolters Kluwer Health and Lippincott Williams and Wilkens. [Editor's note: Yes, Allison is A Risko, sister of Shelf Awareness publisher Jenn Risko. Yea, Allison!]
  • Frank Rubino joins Kaplan as the executive director of technology and user experience. He will oversee app initiatives, ePub innovation and digital partner and vendor relationships. He will also represent Kaplan Publishing with the Software & Information Industry Association and the International Digital Publishing Forum.
  • Edwina Lui, formerly Kaplan's director of content management and strategy, is now information architect. She joined Kaplan in 2006.
  • Brett Sandusky has been promoted to director of product innovation. He was formerly marketing director. He is working with editorial and production teams on print and digital content delivery options, shaping mobile app strategies and enhanced e-books.
  • Babette Ross has joined the company as marketing director. She formerly worked as a consultant in social media coaching and related corporate strategies. She was earlier associate director of sales administration at Random House.
  • Shayna Webb has been promoted to associate director of digital operations.

 

 


GLOW: Insight Editions: Unstoppable: Siggi B. Wilzig's Astonishing Journey from Auschwitz Survivor and Penniless Immigrant to Wall Street Legend by Joshua M. Greene


Obituary Note: Brian Jacques

Brian Jacques, whose Redwall series, set in the mythical Redwall Abbey, has sold more than 20 million copies, died last Saturday of a heart attack. He was 71.

The 22nd and final book in the Redwall series, The Rogue Crew, will be published in May by Philomel, a Penguin Young Readers Group imprint.

Philomel president and publisher Michael Green noted that Jacques "initially wrote Redwall to entertain the children at Liverpool's Royal Wavertree School for the Blind, where he would read aloud, giving voice to the many accents, giving aroma and flavor to the famous Redwall Abbey feasts, and giving life to a world in which mice and hares were heroes to the end. The world has lost not only a talented author, but a truly gifted entertainer and champion of children."

Jacques was born in Liverpool, England. Penguin said that his interest in adventure stories began in childhood, when he read the works of Daniel Defoe, Sir Henry Rider Haggard, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Robert Louis Stevenson and Edgar Rice Burroughs. One of his favorites was The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Graham.

BBC noted that Jacques showed literary talent at an early age (and we're lucky he survived a teacher's reaction): "He was caned by a teacher who could not believe that a 10-year-old could write so well when he penned a short story about a bird who cleaned a crocodile's teeth."

In at least one Shelf Awareness household, there was a moment of silence last night in honor of Jacques: for a time, young Alex Mutter devoured Redwall titles.

 


Grove Press: Shuggie Bain: A Novel by Douglas Stuart


One More Page Books & More--Including Wine!

Just days after opening One More Page Books & More in Arlington, Va., last month, owner Eileen McGervey had a pleasant surprise when she arrived at work one morning--eager Sunday shoppers waiting outside the store. "People in Arlington really are behind local business. They appreciate that if they want it to be there they have to support it," said McGervey.

Residents in this Washington, D.C., suburb had to wait longer than anticipated to browse the shelves at their neighborhood bookshop. Two previous openings, scheduled for late November and mid-December, were cancelled due to delays in the inspection and permitting process.

Not having a storefront didn't derail the three author events McGervey had lined up to take place the week before Christmas. Ellen Crosby (Viognier Vendetta: A Wine Country Mystery), Richard Thompson (Shapes and Colors: A Cul de Sac Collection) and Richard Gazala (Blood of the Moon) signed books and greeted guests in a party space next door to One More Page.

The nearly 1,500-sq.-ft. general-interest bookstore is situated on the ground floor of a condominium building, along with a salon and other retailers. A children's bookstore, Aladdin's Lamp, was located across the street until it closed last summer. McGervey hired three booksellers who worked there.

One More Page has been in the making since early 2009, when McGervey--then a marketing consultant in the high-tech industry--began considering the possibility of opening a bookstore. She attended a Paz & Associates bookseller training session "to get a better understanding of what's involved. Once I did that I felt like I at least had a foundation," she said.

McGervey decided to proceed with the endeavor, working as a consultant through the fall and then devoting her time to readying One More Page. "Once you make the commitment and put it out there, it takes on a life of its own," she said. She reached out to the proprietors of renowned D.C. bookstore Politics and Prose, Barbara Meade and the late Carla Cohen, for advice and guidance. "They were wonderfully supportive and gracious," said McGervey.

One of the first sections customers see when they walk into One More Page is what McGervey has dubbed the "decadent corner." Displayed along with travel narratives, cookbooks, sports books, art tomes and other titles are edible indulgences--wine and chocolates. "It cuts right to the chase," she joked.

The store carries a sizable wine selection, primarily from lesser-known California and international vineyards, all of which have been sampled and selected by McGervey and her staff. "We were laughing about the fact that we have to be able to handsell the wines just like we do the books, so we must be familiar with them," she said. Customers seem to like their suggestions. Since opening, the store has done a brisk business in wine sales.

Other fare sold at the store includes cheese, crackers, nuts, jams and teas. "There are a lot of rules surrounding the sale of alcohol. For the kind of license I have, I need to sell a certain amount of food," noted McGervey, who was required to take a food safety class to pass inspection.

After wine, the store's main sidelines are Paperblanks journals and chocolates. The confection selections range from traditional varieties to exotic flavors like bacon and come from chocolate makers in the U.S., Switzerland, Belgium, Ghana and Venezuela.

A more unusual item on hand is Grandma's Catsup, made by Henry's Sauce & Condiment Company in Bozeman, Mont. The catsup, served at Ray's Hell Burger in Arlington and a favorite with the eatery's clientele (who include President Obama and Vice President Biden), is not widely available at retail outlets in the area. "I've already had someone come in just to get the ketchup," said McGervey.

Wine tasting and a "galley giveaway" will be part of the revelry at a soirée this Thursday evening, the start of a three-day grand opening celebration. Attendees can select advance reading copies and, after they have read the book, share their opinion on whether or not they think it should be stocked at the store.

On Saturday, One More Page is hosting Ellen Byerrum, who will sign copies of Shot Through Velvet: A Crime of Fashion Mystery. Saturday's line-up includes several local children's authors appearing in the afternoon, followed by a wine, champagne and chocolate tasting to wrap up the festivities.

A book prominently featured at the front of the store is You Know When the Men Are Gone by Siobhan Fallon, along with reviews of the story collection from the Washington Post and O magazine--the latter of which was written by Arlington resident and journalist Bethanne Patrick. Eleanor Brown's novel The Weird Sisters, displayed on the fiction table, is a favorite with One More Page staff as well as with local blogger Jenn Lawrence of Jenn's Bookshelves. "There are so many great book bloggers and reviewers in our area," McGervey said. "We want to start getting people familiar with their picks."

Highlighted in the children's section are suggestions by 12-year-old Jess and nine-year-old Lily, who are the daughters of McGervey's friend and cousin, respectively. The young bibliophiles have been enthusiastic supporters of the store, even helping out by making bookmarks and mopping floors. Lily recommends Jon Scieszka's Spaceheadz, while one of Jess's choices is Suzanne Collins's Mockingjay.

When McGervey--whose first job was working in a bookmobile during high school--was contemplating opening a bookstore, she attended the ABA's Winter Institute and other industry conferences to learn more about what the profession entails. In her previous job, she often advised clients that "theory doesn't equal reality," she said. "What people tell you about how something works is not generally how it really works. It's best to talk to those who actually do it."

How does theory compare with reality for McGervey in her new role? Keeping up with back-office tasks is more time-consuming and demanding than she envisioned. On the other hand, "It has been more fun than I would have thought with people coming in and talking to them about books," she said. "They say the store is beautiful and that they're happy we're here. Not that I didn't think people would love the store, but it's your dream and you hope others will embrace it, too. We look forward to being around for a long time."--Shannon McKenna Schmidt

One More Page Books & More is located at 2200 N. Westmoreland St., #101, Arlington, Va. 22213; 703-300-9746; www.onemorepagebooks.com; onemorepagebooks.blogspot.com; @justonemorepage.

 

 


Apollo Publishers: Holiday Gift Ideas


Media and Movies

Media Heat: Peace from Broken Pieces

This morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, who will talk about Wikileaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy by David Leigh, Luke Harding and the staff of the Guardian (PublicAffairs, $15.99, 9781610390613).

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This morning on Imus in the Morning: Noah Boyd, author of Agent X (Morrow, $24.99, 9780061826986).

Also on Imus: Frank Brady, author of Endgame: Bobby Fischer's Remarkable Rise and Fall--from America's Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness (Crown, $25.99, 9780307463906).

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Tomorrow morning on Good Morning America: Wayne Rogers, co-author of Make Your Own Rules: A Renegade Guide to Unconventional Success (AMACOM, $23, 9780814416570).

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Tomorrow morning on NPR's Morning Edition: Lucy Kellaway, author of In Office Hours (Grand Central, $24.99, 9780446565691).

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Tomorrow on Oprah: Iyanla Vanzant, author of Peace from Broken Pieces: How to Get Through What You're Going Through (Smiley Books, $24.95, 9781401928223).

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Tomorrow on the Wendy Williams Show: Taboo, author of Fallin' Up: My Story (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439192061).

Also on the Wendy Williams Show: Bethenny Frankel, author of A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out of Life (Touchstone, $24.99, 9781439186909).

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Tomorrow night in a repeat on the Colbert Report: Dr. Paul Offit, author of Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All (Basic, $27.50, 9780465021499).

 


Movies: Legend

CBS Films has acquired the screen rights to Legend, a novel--the first in a planned trilogy--by Marie Lu that will be published this November by Penguin. Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey (Twilight Saga) will produce the movie. Deadline.com reported the story "takes place in a dark future, when North America is split into two warring nations. Legend focuses on Day, a young Robin Hood figure, and June, a teenage prodigy who is hired to hunt him down. Along the way, the two of them uncover an impossible truth about their totalitarian leaders."

"The character of Day, a roguish teen outlaw on the run, has been in my head since high school," Lu said. "One night, I was watching an old time detective movie when the idea of Day vs. the gifted teen June came to me."

 


The Social Network Wins USC Libraries Scripter Award

Aaron Sorkin, The Social Network's screenwriter, and Ben Mezrich, author of The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of Facebook: A Tale of Sex, Money, Genius and Betrayal, won the 23rd annual USC Libraries Scripter Award, which recognizes "the author and scribes of a produced literary work-to-film adaptation," the Hollywood Reporter wrote.

The other finalists were 127 Hours (director-writers Danny Boyle and Simon Beaufoy/Aron Ralston, author of Between a Rock and a Hard Place), The Ghost Writer (filmmaker Roman Polanski/author Robert Harris), True Grit (Joel and Ethan Coen/Charles Portis) and Winter's Bone (director-writers Debra Granik & Anne Rosellini/author Daniel Woodrell).

 


Books & Authors

Awards: Puddly and Indie Lit Winners

The winners of Powell's Books' Puddly Awards, for the best books read in 2010 voted on by customers, are, for fiction, The Help by Kathryn Stockett and, for nonfiction, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot. The top 10 readers' choices are currently being discounted 30%.

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The winners and runners up of the 2010 Indie Lit Awards, sponsored, run and voted on by book bloggers, are:

GLBTQ

Winner: Annabel by Kathleen Winter
Runner Up: Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green, David Levithan

Literary Fiction

Winner: Safe from the Sea by Peter Geye
Runner Up: Great House by Nicole Krauss

Nonfiction

Winner: The Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson
Runner Up: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Speculative Fiction

Winner: Kraken by China Miéville
Runner Up: Monsters of Men by Patrick Ness

 


IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Hardcover

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore: A Novel by Benjamin Hale (Twelve, $24.99, 9780446571579). "The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is a serious novel that manages to transform an interspecies love story into a journey into language, humanity, life and death. It cleverly challenges the reader to explore ancient philosophical themes while sharing a love story between a woman and a chimpanzee, which includes some very funny moments. The story leaves you thinking deeply about what it means to be human. Open the book--and your mind--and let Benjamin Hale take you away."--Ed Conklin, Chaucer's Books, Santa Barbara, Calif.

The Memory Palace: A Memoir by Mira Bartok (Free Press, $25, 9781439183311). "This is a beautifully written, heart-stomping, provocative memoir about a daughter's 17-year estrangement from her schizophrenic mother and their rapprochement following the mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer. Just as the daughter tries to recreate her own life after a traumatic brain injury, she is faced with revisiting her broken childhood via a cache of physical mementos saved by her mother. This memoir provokes so many questions, not just about mothers and daughters, but also about genius and sanity, abuse and resiliency, and what family members owe each other."--Nancy Colalillo, Tome on the Range Books, Las Vegas, N.Mex.

Paperback

Blind Your Ponies: A Novel by Stanley Gordon West (Algonquin, $14.95, 9781565129849). "Blind Your Ponies is a book about basketball like Moby Dick is a book about a whale. Yes, there's basketball in the rundown town of Willow Creek, Montana, and a coach whose team has a dismal record of zero wins and 93 losses. When two new kids show up, they give Coach Sam Pickett and everybody else new hope, despite adversities galore. Humor, compassion, and perseverance rise from every page as these all too real people grow in trust, confidence, and understanding. The story is triumphant but never schmaltzy, preachy or satisfied with the cheap heartstring tug. The writing is pure and beautiful."--Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Cannon Beach, Ore.

For Ages 4 to 8

The Chiru of High Tibet: A True Story by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, illustrated by Linda Wingerter (Houghton Mifflin, $17.99, 9780618581306). "This graceful picture book lets children experience the secret world of a rare wild species hidden away deep in the remotest reaches of Tibet. Wide, sweeping landscapes and the simplest story telling convey the patience and care of the scientists and explorers who sought the secrets of the chiru."--Mary Taft, Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, Iowa

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

 



Book Review

Book Review: The View from Here

The View from Here by Deborah McKinlay (Soho Press, $24.00 Hardcover, 9781569478714, February 2011)

 

The moral dilemma thoughtfully explored in this debut novel is whether good deeds cancel bad ones. Can we expiate our past sins by leading an exemplary life? Frances is grappling with this question as she, at 42 and diagnosed with terminal cancer, revisits an episode of her youth that still shames her.

At 22, Frances hooks up with a group of wealthy Americans vacationing in the Mexican desert. She speaks Spanish, they do not; a chance encounter in a cafe leads the three couples to invite her to stay with them at their rented mansion. They have maids and nannies to care for the children, so "Frankie," as they call her, is free to join the adults in their self-indulgent lifestyle. Her nickname lends a certain insouciance to her new-found life with these devil-may-care, no-worries Americans. She still gives English lessons to two students, but that is the last vestige of the life she lived before meeting Patsy and Richard, BeeBee and Ned, Sally and Mason. Their palatial home has a beautiful room for Frankie, a constant party atmosphere and no end of booze. Quite a change from her squalid apartment and vanished boyfriend.

The inevitable happens: she has an affair with Mason, falls deeply in love with him and comes to believe that this is no mere dalliance but the Real Thing. Alas, she is very sadly mistaken. The results of this affair and the alliances and misalliances between and among the couples leave her shaken, ashamed and feeling betrayed. She is not yet ready to examine her own culpability.

Now, two decades later, living in rural England with her much-beloved husband, Phillip, she finds a letter from his book editor, Josee, that is obviously romantic in tone. She and Phillip have no children of their own but she reared Chloe, Phillip's daughter, who had been abandoned by her mother. Surely that is a huge mark on the good side of her life ledger! She doesn't deserve this infidelity... or does she? Is this just deserts for her own cavalier affair with a married man? McKinlay engages the reader in a meditation, going back and forth between the Mexican sojourn and Frances's illness and discovery of Phillip's indiscretion, laying out the events, her feelings and the understanding she has gained over time.--Valerie Ryan

Shelf Talker: A debut novel that asks the question: Can an adult life well lived cancel early indiscretions?

 


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