Publishers Weekly: "Connell's story races through a series of breathtaking yet believable surprises, never failing to hold the reader's interest."
Date: Aug 23 2010
Connell's first novel charts the riveting, decade-long struggle of 20-something Englishwoman Louise to come to terms with losing her mother at the age of 10. In 1983, Oxford professor Nicholas Steiner has a short-lived affair with Lydia, the wife of a university colleague and Louise's mother, before marrying another woman and having a son. Nicholas's attempt at domestic bliss is complicated by an unexpected encounter with Lydia, with whom he renews the affair, which ends only with Lydia's death in 1989. Nearly two decades later, certain that Nicholas is to blame for her mother's death, Louise assumes her mother's name, moves to the town where Nicholas and his family live, and sets out to confront and, she hopes, destroy him. But Louise/Lydia falls in love with Nicholas's son and moves in with the Steiner family, from whom she learns firsthand about life's ambiguities. Connell's story races through a series of breathtaking yet believable surprises, never failing to hold the reader's interest.