You Are the Love of My Life: A Novel

( 6 )

Overview

“Spare, elegant and absolutely riveting. . . . Cancel those dinner plans—you’ll want to keep reading.”—Joanna Powell, People
It is 1973 and Watergate is on everyone’s lips. Lucy Painter is a children's book illustrator and a single mother of two. She leaves New York and the married father of her children to live in a tightly knit Washington neighborhood in the house where she grew up and where she discovered her father’s suicide. Lucy hopes for a fresh start, but her life is full of secrets: her children know ...

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Overview

“Spare, elegant and absolutely riveting. . . . Cancel those dinner plans—you’ll want to keep reading.”—Joanna Powell, People
It is 1973 and Watergate is on everyone’s lips. Lucy Painter is a children's book illustrator and a single mother of two. She leaves New York and the married father of her children to live in a tightly knit Washington neighborhood in the house where she grew up and where she discovered her father’s suicide. Lucy hopes for a fresh start, but her life is full of secrets: her children know nothing of her father’s death or the identity of their own father. As the new neighbors enter their insular lives, her family’s safety and stability become threatened.
From a writer whose “unique presentation of human experience makes reading a delight” (Elizabeth Strout), You Are the Love of My Life is a story of how shame leads to secrets, secrets to lies, and how lies stand in the way of human connection.

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Editorial Reviews

Donna Rifkind - Washington Post
“Graceful moments of connection nestled within tales of discord and deception . . . subtly convincing.

Ron Rash
“The high price of a truth concealed is at the center of this remarkable, ultimately hopeful novel. Susan Shreve reveals her characters and their lives with empathy, wisdom, and, best of all, not a whiff of condescension .”
Hilma Wolitzer
“Susan Shreve is a terrific storyteller who always brings her characters to vivid, sympathetic life. You Are the Love of my Life is my favorite of her books.”
Washington Post
Graceful moments of connection nestled within tales of discord and deception . . . subtly convincing.
— Donna Rifkind
Booklist
“Starred review. Handles complex themes of identity, loyalty, privacy, and commitment with finesse, delicacy, and insight . . . a worthy book club recommendation.”
Dani Shapiro
“The corrosive power of family secrets is at the heart of this gripping tale—a beautifully written page-turner that kept me in its thrall until the very end.”
Publishers Weekly
Shreve explores the damaging ripple effect of secrets in her emotional and psychologically compelling newest (after The Lovely Shoes). Lucy Painter was 12 when she discovered her hanged father in their house in Washington, D.C. His suicide instilled in Lucy an abiding shame, and became the root of her reclusiveness and belief in “necessary” lies. Later, Lucy becomes a successful children’s book illustrator and a single mother, but keeps the father’s identity hidden from her children, preteen Maggie and young Felix because he is a married man. In 1973, Lucy and her kids move from New York back to Lucy’s childhood home, where she struggles with intrusive neighbors, especially the headstrong Zee Mallory. To Lucy’s increasing chagrin, Zee begins “appropriating” Maggie, who is hurt by her mother’s emotional reticence. Only when Lucy realizes that she may lose her daughter does she summon the courage to reveal her past. Shreve has an authoritative command of narrative, and she portrays the younger characters with insight and pitch-perfect dialogue, crafting a message of transparency and acceptance that resonates beyond the home. (Aug.)
Ann Hood
“I couldn't put this book down! From its opening pages, which hint at the mysteries and complexities of the human heart, right until the final pages when Susan Richards Shreve reveals her characters' secrets and disappointments and hopes, I found You Are the Love of My Life completely irresistible.”
Edith Pearlman
You Are the Love of My Life takes place in a cozy little neighborhood in Washington, where every family tries to conceal not-so-cozy secrets under tattered falsehoods. It's a memorable study of how lies can enslave people and truth set them free.”
People Magazine
This finely crafted novel about a woman haunted by family secrets packs a smart punch. Spare, elegant and absolutely riveting, Shreve's fascinating look at our human longing for love and security unfolds like a thriller. So cancel those dinner plans—you'll want to keep reading.
Library Journal
Lucy Painter's past is full of secrets she is not ready to share. The father of her two children is married to someone else and has no plans to change that situation. She moves her family from New York City to a suburb of Washington, DC, hoping for distance and clarity. There she forms a tightly knit community with her neighbor, Zelda Mallory, as ringleader. Lucy's preteen daughter, Maggie, has reached the angry stage when she wants a different, more exotic and glamorous mother. Zelda fits that description—and wants the job. Lucy doesn't want to lose her daughter but keeping Maggie means that she must reveal her secrets. A crisis is reached when Zelda, who has secrets of her own, abducts Maggie. In resolving the crisis all is revealed and Lucy can finally move on. Shreve (The Lovely Shoes) captures and exposes human frailty and the psychological trauma to everyone involved when people try to hide from reality. VERDICT The characters are varied and three-dimensional. The preteen/adult conflict between Maggie and Lucy is spot on. This book will appeal to readers of fiction that describes the human condition. [See Prepub Alert, 1/30/12.]—Joanna M. Burkhardt, Univ. of Rhode Island Libs., Providence
Kirkus Reviews
Lucy Painter's love for unreliable men has resulted in a life built on shame and secrets, until a crisis involving her own daughter cracks the mold. A conspiracy of silence, matched by the Watergate-hearings background, enfolds Shreve's (Warm Springs, 2007, etc.) readable family drama that opens with 12-year-old Lucy Baldwin discovering her father's suicide. Instructed by her mother never to speak of their shame, Lucy has spent subsequent years not dealing with the trauma. Now a successful children's writer, she has held a long relationship with her married editor in New York, the father of her two children, who has often talked of leaving his wife but has never done it. Finally, Lucy and the children, Felix and Maggie, have relocated to D.C., to the selfsame house where her father died. Felix takes the move well; Maggie however is becoming infuriated by her mother's secrecy and wants to know the identity of her father. Across the road lives another mother with a secret, Zee Mallory, who craves Maggie as the daughter she never had. As Maggie falls under Zee's spell, Lucy is forced to act and speak. The gothic finale doesn't fully deliver, but with her engaging tale and prose as fluid as Sue Miller's or Anna Quindlen's, if quirkier, Shreve hits the commercial bull'seye.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393345940
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/5/2013
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 716,542
  • Product dimensions: 5.60 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Susan Richards Shreve is the author of fourteen novels, a memoir, and twenty-nine books for children. She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment grant and is cochairman of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation. She lives in Washington,
DC.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 6 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2012

    I'm usually never at a loss for words, but....

    .....I didn't get how the loss of a parent in the way she lost her father, having children with a married man and calling him uncle, allowing your daughter to stay with a neighbor who gives you bad vibes is all that logical in an effort to create a page turner in 2012. Just sayin'. I gave it 2 stars because I actually felt the need to finish it thinking, surely there would be something earth shattering at the end and that didn't happen. So many loose ends.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2012

    Okay

    The story was odd; I did not understand the actions of the main character. There were characters I liked, characters I just could not stand and others that I felt sorry for so I finished the book. I dont regret reading it but would not say it is a MUST read

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2012

    Intelligent review please?

    Come on people...this forum is to give opinons about BOOKS...is this worth reading?

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Butterfly

    Ate an apple.

    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Smichells food

    Was almost done.

    0 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews

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