The family is uncommonly close: Michael’s childless Auntie Hankie and Uncle Irving, glamorous Hollywood screenwriters, are doubly related— Hankie is his father’s sister, and Irving is his mother’s brother. The two families live near each other in Laurel Canyon. In this strangely intertwined world, even the author’s grandmothers—who dislike each other—share a nearby apartment.
Strangest of all is the way Auntie Hankie, with her extravagant personality, comes to bend the wider family to her will. Talented, mercurial, and lavish with her love, she divides Michael from his parents and his two younger brothers as she takes charge of his education, guiding him to the right books to read (Proust, not Zola), the right painters to admire (Matisse, not Pollock), the right architectural styles to embrace (period, not modern—or mo-derne, as she pronounces the word, with palpable disdain). She trains his mind and his eye—until that eye begins to see on its own. When this “son” Hankie longs for grows up and begins to turn away from her, her moods darken, and a series of shattering scenes compel Michael to reconstruct both himself and his family narrative as he tries to reconcile the woman he once adored with the troubled figure he discovers her to be.
In its portrayal of this fascinating, singularly polarizing figure, the boy in her thrall, and the man that boy becomes, The Mighty Franks will speak to any reader who has ever struggled to find an independent voice amid the turbulence of family life.
When Rachel Porter’s estranged mother dies, she returns to her family home filled with dread about having to face her past, and the people who populated it.
Little does she know that there are dead bodies waiting to be discovered, and a lifetime of secrets are about to unravel.
Secrets kept by her mother, the liar.
From the author of The Lost Child, and The Forgotten Room. Perfect for fans of The Secret Mother and Linda Green.
Praise for The Forgotten Room:
‘Addictive. A first-class page-turner.’ Lisa Hall
‘One of the best books I’ve read in ages.’ Amazon Reader
‘Creepy, dark and twisty!’ Amazon Reader
‘A dark and twisted novel that had me guessing and second guessing the ending through out.’ Amazon Reader
‘I couldn't put this book down – gripping to the end.’ Amazon Reader
One of the hardest, most heartbreaking experiences that can come at a woman as she eases out of her thirties is to discover that she cannot have a baby. As Fertility opens, Costanza Ansaldo, a half-Italian and half-American translator, is convinced that she has made peace with her childlessness. She has traveled to Italy to restart her life a year after the death of her husband, the writer Morton Sarnoff. Returning to the pensione in Florence where she spent many happy times as a child, she meets, first, Andrew Weissman, an acutely sensitive seventeen-year-old, and, soon afterward, his father, Henry Weissman, a charismatic New York physician who specializes in—of all things—reproductive medicine.
The triangle that forms among these three characters resumes three months later in New York, where the relationships turn and tighten with combustive effects that cut to the core of what it means to be a father, a son, and—for Costanza—a potential mother.
Suspenseful and gripping, Fertility is a psychological novel that like The Mighty Franks, a prizewinning memoir that was published in seven countries, is a book about family secrets too closely held and about discovering who we are, and who those closest to us are, when life puts us to disturbing and powerful tests. It is exquisitely told.