Constance: A Novel

Overview

Over the course of three decades of writing, bestselling novelist Rosie Thomas has earned an untold number of awards and critical praise. Her latest novel, Constance, is a powerful story of a woman’s anguished reckoning with her past. Constance Thorne was a foundling, left by her mother within days of her birth. Decades later, she leads a happy, independent life in Bali, but when she hears the news that her sister Jeanette is dying, the last thing she wants is to return to London. As a child, Connie was aware ...

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Constance: A Novel

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Overview

Over the course of three decades of writing, bestselling novelist Rosie Thomas has earned an untold number of awards and critical praise. Her latest novel, Constance, is a powerful story of a woman’s anguished reckoning with her past. Constance Thorne was a foundling, left by her mother within days of her birth. Decades later, she leads a happy, independent life in Bali, but when she hears the news that her sister Jeanette is dying, the last thing she wants is to return to London. As a child, Connie was aware only of the differences between herself and her sister, yet they both fell in love with the same man. With the bitterness of betrayal still between them, Connie and Jeanette have to learn to forgive each other. Do the bonds of shared childhood lie deeper than they had believed? And, surrounded by family, can Connie make her peace with who she really is—and who she loves?

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
Now that she is confronted with losing them, a middle-aged woman strives to finally reconcile her conflicting emotions toward her adoptive family. Constance was named after the London street where she was found, a newborn hours old, under a hedge with only an earring as a memento of the mother who abandoned her. Both her looks (dark and wiry) and musical talent make her feel out of place in her family of plump, blue-eyed blonds. But she has no inkling of her origins until a callous cousin reveals them at the funeral of her beloved parent, Tony. Constance was, it appears, adopted by Tony and Hilda because they feared a second biological child might be deaf, like Constance's older sister, Jeanette. The relationship between the two sisters has always been prickly, not merely due to sibling rivalry, but also to Constance's tenacious attraction (requited as we shall see) to Jeanette's husband, Bill. Weaving between past and present instances of family alienation, we learn that Constance has prospered as a composer for advertising and television and that she fled London for Bali years before after a brief, intense affair with Bill was exposed. The sisters have been definitively estranged since a wrenching encounter at the time of Hilda's death. But now Jeanette emails Constance to inform her that she is dying of cancer and that it is time for a final reckoning. In a subplot that meshes gracefully, Roxana, newly arrived in London from Uzbekistan, is fleeing political unrest that has claimed the life of her brother. She's determined to become an "English girl" even if right now her sole source of income is lap dancing. When she meets Noah, Bill and Jeanette's 20-something son, Roxana's life will intertwine with Constance's in ways that shed light on the dislocation of both women. Constance's belated investigation into her birth circumstances adds suspense to an otherwise meandering and leisurely narrative. Despite rather superficial characters and some long-winded window dressing, a resonant and insightful novel.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781468302646
  • Publisher: Overlook Hardcover
  • Publication date: 8/29/2013
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 965,245
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Rosie Thomas is the author of numerous critically acclaimed, bestselling novels, including The Kashmir Shawl, which won the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Epic Romantic Novel Award. She has won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award twice, for her novels Iris & Ruby and Sunrise. Born in a small village in northern Wales, Thomas discovered a love of traveling and mountaineering when her children were grown. In the years since, she has climbed in the Alps and the Himalayas, competed in the Peking to Paris car rally, trekked in the footsteps of Shackleton on South Georgia Island, and spent time on a tiny Bulgarian research station in Antarctica.

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