A beautifully written novel,
This review is from: You are the Love of My Life: A Novel (Paperback)
I was sent this book to review by W. W. Norton and Company Ltd. 'You Are the Love of My Life' was picked for Booklist's Top Ten Women's Fiction.
As a child Lucy Baldwin and her family lived in Washington, D.C. Her father, Samuel Baldwin was special assistant to President Truman. Then suddenly everything changed in an instant. On the 11th June 1951, 12 year old Lucy was sent by her mother into the house they had purchased as an investment property to remind her father about dinner. He had been busy doing it up so that it was ready to lease out. Unable to find him in any of the rooms but discovering his boots, Lucy went down to the basement and made a shocking discovery. Her father had hung himself.
After her father's death, Lucy and her mother moved to Sante Fe. Her mother changed their surname to Painter as she was worried someone might trace Samuel Baldwin back to them.
It's now 1973 and everyone is talking about the Watergate scandal. Lucy Painter, who is a children's book illustrator and a single mother to Maggie and Felix, decides to leave New York and the married father of her children and return to Washington, D.C. Hoping to make a fresh start, Lucy moves into the house on Wichita Hills where her father committed suicide. But will Lucy be able to achieve what she wants? Her life is full of secrets, ones she doesn't feel able to share. As new neighbours come into their lives, Lucy's family's safety and stability become threatened.
Split into four parts this novel has been beautifully written. In Chapter Three the reader is given a good introduction to the various neighbours, most of whom seem to have issues in their lives and not all of which are particularly happy. Zee Mallory always appears to be there for her friends and neighbours, the pillar of the community. But what lurks beneath? Lucy for one just can't get close to her like the other women have. Even her daughter seems to have taken to Zee, something which Lucy doesn't feel altogether happy about.
This story has been told from the point of view of the three main characters; Lucy, her daughter Maggie and Zee Mallory. Reading this novel has reminded me that you never know what anyone might be going through in their current lives or what might have happened in their past. 'You Are the Love of My Life' is a story of how shame leads to secrets, secrets become lies and how these lies can stand in the way of human connection. It is also a love story.