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“In the spirit of Richard Yates' novel Revolutionary Road, Caroline Leavitt peels back the neat facade of suburban life in the 1950s to uncover the ways in which the demands of conformity leave a trail of loneliness and pain for those who lie outside its bounds. Ava Lark, the divorced Jewish mother of twelve-year-old Lewis, struggles against the judgment of neighbors as she and her son befriend the only other fatherless children around, Jimmy and Rose. Jimmy's sudden, unexplained disappearance taps into every parent's worst nightmare. Blending taut suspense with deeply moving portrayals of fierce parental love, childhood friendships and first crushes, Leavitt has created a novel with haunting characters and much to say about how we move through tragedy.”
— Libby Cowles, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO
In 1956, Ava Lark rents a house with her twelve-year-old son, Lewis, in a desirable Boston suburb. Ava is beautiful, divorced, Jewish, and a working mom. She finds her neighbors less than welcoming. Lewis yearns for his absent father, befriending the only other fatherless kids: Jimmy and Rose. One afternoon, Jimmy goes missing. The neighborhood—in the throes of Cold War paranoia—seizes the opportunity to further ostracize Ava and her son.
Years later, when Lewis and Rose reunite to untangle the final pieces of the tragic puzzle, they must decide: Should you tell the truth even if it hurts those you love, or should some secrets remain buried?
"An insightful parable about a 'complicated and uncertain era.'" --The Week
"An arresting portrait of bygone America" --San Francisco Chronicle
“[T]aut and resonant mystery.”—Barnes & Noble Review
“Leavitt is a lovely writer and here she tells an absorbing story.”—New York Daily News
"Not only is [Leavitt] an incredibly accomplished novelist, she's also a crackerjack human being."—The Huffington Post
"Leavitt has a way of crafting the loveliest novels out of tragedy ... It's her examination of loss, grief, and disappointment that will engross readers."—Booklist
"This tale of domestic suspense builds to a shocking climax and will appeal to anyone immersed in suburban lore."—Library Journal