The Possibility of You

Overview

1916. It was the one thing Bridget was supposed to never let happen. But no matter how many times she replayed the steps in her head, she couldn’t reanimate the small pale boy who lay limp in her arms.

1976. Billie felt as if she’d been wrenched in half more surely than when the baby had been cut from her body. But she felt something else too: happy to think only of her own needs, her own tears. So light she could float away, somewhere no one ...

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The Possibility of You

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Overview

1916. It was the one thing Bridget was supposed to never let happen. But no matter how many times she replayed the steps in her head, she couldn’t reanimate the small pale boy who lay limp in her arms.

1976. Billie felt as if she’d been wrenched in half more surely than when the baby had been cut from her body. But she felt something else too: happy to think only of her own needs, her own tears. So light she could float away, somewhere no one would ever find her.

The present. Even if Cait never found her birth mother, even if she decided not to have this baby, to leave her lover and kiss her parents good-bye, she was surrounded by so much emotion, so many questions, that she felt as if she might never be free again.

Can we ever atone for the sins of the past? Or does each generation of women invent itself anew? In a complex and beautifully told masterpiece set against key moments for women in the last century, New York Times bestselling author Pamela Redmond intertwines the heartrending stories of Bridget, Billie, and Cait, and explores the ways in which one woman’s choices can affect her loved ones forever. As these three women search for identity and belonging, each faces a very personal decision that will reverberate across generations, tearing apart families, real and imaginary, perfect and flawed, but ultimately bringing them together again.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Redmond’s latest novel takes place against the backdrop of 20th-century American feminism, following three generations of women struggling with unplanned pregnancies, broken homes, family tragedies, and the lifelong consequences of bad choices. In the present day, Cait, a globe-trotting reporter, gets pregnant after a one-night stand, forcing her to confront the decision her mother made 35 years ago to put her up for adoption. In 1976, orphaned and impoverished Billie is taken in by her eccentric grandmother Maude—a woman she’d long thought dead—and slowly uncovers the torrid circumstances of her family’s estrangement. And in 1916, Irish nanny Bridget works for Maude, a suffragist and socialite too busy to care for her infant son. When the baby contracts polio, Bridget and Maude’s relationship takes a perverse turn that will influence their families for generations. Redmond has written a crisply paced novel, but she also traffics in stereotypes and sentimentality and makes a misstep in turning real-world feminist icons—including Margaret Sanger, Beatrice Hinkle, and Patti Smith—into minor characters to explore modern sexual politics. Despite effective layers of suspense and intrigue, the story fails to overcome its shortcomings. Agent: Melissa Flashman, Trident Media Group. (Feb.)
Library Journal
The stories of three women are braided together through time and across generations in the latest by New York Times best-selling author Redmond (How Not To Act Old; she also publishes under the name Pamela Redmond Satran). Cait, whose story is set in the present day, has never felt she fit perfectly with her adopted parents, though she is absolutely loved. When the story of a lost boy shakes her deeply, she sets out to find her birth mother. In 1976, Billie is struggling with her love for Jupe and with Jupe's assertion that he is bisexual. Adding to her problems are her family's secrets. Her parents' troubled pasts drive her to New York to find her grandmother Maude and Maude's companion Bridget, only to learn that Maude's feelings about African American Jupe and Billie's accidental pregnancy are volatile at best. Taking place in 1916, the story of Maude and Bridget is the most intricate, setting the stage for the mystery surrounding the stories of Billie and Cait. VERDICT For big fans of stories of mothers and daughters and intergenerational ties, Redmond delivers. This lands heavily on the sentimental side of pregnancy.—Julie Kane, Sweet Briar Coll. Lib., VA
Kirkus Reviews
Separated by decades, three women face difficult choices about motherhood. Redmond (Babes in Captivity, 2004, etc.) keeps her heroines' stories separate for most of the novel, but readers will decipher the heavy-handed connections early on. Present-day Cait, now in her 30s, has been raised lovingly by her adoptive parents, middle-class, suburban Catholics. When she finds herself pregnant and in love with a fellow journalist she's met while searching for a missing child—unbelievably sensitive Martin is married but his wife is a shrew and may be cheating on him too—she decides she must find her birth mother. In 1976 California, 19-year-old Billie is orphaned when her drugged-out father dies, but she finds letters that lead her to her wealthy grandmother Maude, a selfish but charming old woman dependent on her housekeeper Bridget. Billie moves into Maude's Manhattan mansion as Maude's heir. She also begins to sleep with her African-American bisexual best friend Jupe. When she gets pregnant, medical student Jupe says he's not ready to have a baby. Billie gives birth, suffers postpartum depression, is disowned by racist Maude and leaves the baby girl with Bridget. In 1916, Bridget is a newly arrived Irish nanny caring for Maude's first son. A former Ziegfeld girl now married to a wealthy Jewish candy manufacturer, Maude runs in a suffragette circle and pays little attention to her baby, but when he dies suddenly she is distraught. Bridget is her main support, but Bridget is being wooed by George, Maude's former chauffeur. Maude fires Bridget when she becomes pregnant and marries George. After his death in World War I, Bridget and her son are penniless. Maude takes her back on the condition that she can raise Bridget's son as her own. By the time modern Cait has her baby, she is in the bosom of her family, genetic and adoptive. The message is not subtle: Adoption is good, abortion should be a legal choice but is basically bad, men can be nice but are basically irrelevant.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594524335
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 2/21/2012
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Pamela Redmond is the author of eighteen books, most recently the New York Times bestseller How Not to Act Old, which was optioned to DreamWorks. She is the author of five novels, including Younger and The Man I Should Have Married, and the coauthor of ten bestselling baby name books and the related website NameBerry.com. She is a columnist for Glamour and writes frequently for such publications as The Daily Beast and More magazine among many others.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 7, 2012

    A must read.

    Enjoyed this novel very much...laughed, cried but most of all felt. Three lives that have one complete unity.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2012

    Hollyleaf 11

    "Where's the sun gone?" Brambleberry shimmered into view beside Featherwhisker, her fur sparkling with stars. Out of StarClan, the dead cats' fur shimmered like stars. Mothflight stalked from the long grass, eyes round as she adjusted to the gloom. "Now what?" Yellowfang's pelt brushed his flank as the ShadowClan medicine cat joined them. "Each of you must go to your Clan and bring your cats here." Brambleberry stared down to a muddy river flowing from the lake. Yellowfang faced the swath of dark pine forest spreading beside it while Mothflight fixed her gaze on the rolling moorland beyond. Featherwhisker could see the tops of the mighty oaks where ThunderClan sheltered beneath. "I'll bring every cat I can find." Yellowfang headed down the hillside, followed by Mothflight and Brambleberry. Featherwhisker headed down the hill and into the woods. A white pelt moved at the edge of his vision. He snapped his head around. Whitewing! The ThunderClan warrior was stalking prey. Tail down, muzzle low, she crept foreward, her eyes fixed ahead. A mouse skittered over a tree root a tail length away. Whitewing sprang and landed on it squarely, killing it and sitting up with a purr rumbling in her throat. Featherwhisker padded out from the shadows. "I'm glad there is still prey here." Whitewing jerked around, blinking. The mouse dropped from her jaws. "Who are you?" "I am Featherwhisker. Follow me Whitewing, it's important. We must gather the Clans." Whitewing tipped her head. "Everyone?" "As many as we can." Featherwhisker bounded foreward and broke into a run. Whitewing chased after him. "But what about Clan boundaries?" "The other medicine cats are helping me gather the other three Clans." He ducked just in time to avoid the prickly stem of a bramble. Featherwhisker caught sight of a matted old gray tom snoozing in the shelter of a fern. "Purdy! Come! We're gathering the Clans!" The old ThunderClan tom lifted his head and hauled himself to his paws, his eyes shining with questions. Featherwhisker raced away. He crested a rise to find Squirrelflight picking her way along an ivy choked trail. "Follow us!" He didn't even pause to explain. The ground grew muddy underpaw and ferns gave way to bracken. "Dovewing!" The gray she-cat was reaching up into a cloud of tumbling leaves, batting at them with her paws. Her gaze widened as she saw Whitewing, Purdy, and Squirrelflight on his tail. "Join us!" Featherwhisker called, racing past the she-cat and heading for a swath of brambles. "Bramblestar!" The ThunderClan leader was eating a vole under highledge. He loiked up in surprise. "Follow us!" Featherwhisker told him. Bramblestar glanced down at the vole, then bounded toward them, her eyes shining in excitement. "Where are we going?" "Wait and see!" Featherwhisker led the cats down a ravine that cut through the middle of the woods. As they scrambled up the other side, Featherwhisker glanced over his shoulder, surprised by the long line of cats trailing in their wake. Lionblaze, Ivypool, Rosepetal, Foxleap, Cloudtail, and Graystripe had joined them. He reached the top of the ravine and caught sight of a gray pelt lurking around the trees. "Jayfeather?" His blind blue eyes narrowed as he called out to him. "Come with us!" He urged. He curled his lip. "What are you up to?" Featherwhisker stumbled to a halt. "I am uniting the Clans!" "Why would I follow fools?" Jayfeather spat.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2012

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    Posted April 24, 2012

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