A group of women are bound by dark secrets in Sise’s (The Academy, 2018) adult debut.
Cora still misses her younger sister, Maggie, who died in a drunken driving accident six years ago: Maggie was the driver, and Cora’s husband, Sam, and her best friend’s husband, Jeremy, were both in the car. It happened on the night of Cora and Sam’s engagement party, and it’s left a patina of sadness on their marriage even though they have precious 2-year-old twins, George and Lucy, to dote over. At the twins’ birthday party, someone leaves a notebook for Cora to find, and it seems to be the diary of their babysitter, 21-year-old Mira. Mira details a passionate kiss she shared with Sam one night, and Cora is not only devastated, but wonders if a kiss was the only thing that happened. Meanwhile, Mira’s mother, Laurel, hasn’t heard from her and is getting increasingly worried, and there are the positive pregnancy tests she discovers in Mira’s room. Laurel is also dealing with an abusive relationship with her husband, Dash, and is considering leaving him. Jeremy’s wife, Jade, is struggling with a choice between pregnancy and adoption, her husband’s desire for a child of his own, and her painful history with Maggie. Mira’s disappearance and Maggie’s death are catalysts for each woman’s secrets to come to the fore and, over the course of a weekend, pave the way for an explosive confrontation. Cora is especially intriguing: Her story will elicit sympathy from women struggling with the new role of motherhood. She is fiercely smart but must reconcile her intellectual self (she studied to be a mathematician) with days spent potty training and juggling juice boxes and the insecurity that comes with a changed body and an altered sex life. While the suspense is thin, Sise offers an astute glimpse into tragic loss, the innermost lives of women, and the highs and lows and societal expectations of motherhood.
Though melodramatic, this compelling character study will resonate.