The Year of Fog: A Novel

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Life changes in an instant. On a foggy beach. In the seconds when Abby Mason—photographer, fiancée soon-to-be-stepmother—looks into her camera and commits her greatest error. Heartbreaking, uplifting, and beautifully told, here is the riveting tale of a family torn apart, of the search for the truth behind a child’s disappearance, and of one woman’s unwavering faith in the redemptive power of love—all made startlingly fresh through Michelle Richmond’s incandescent sensitivity and extraordinary insight.

Six-year-old Emma vanished into the thick San Francisco fog. Or into the heaving Pacific. Or somewhere just beyond: to a parking lot, a stranger’s van, or a road with traffic flashing by. Devastated by guilt, haunted by her fears about becoming a stepmother, Abby refuses to believe that Emma is dead. And so she searches for clues about what happened that morning—and cannot stop the flood of memories reaching from her own childhood to illuminate that irreversible moment on the beach.

Now, as the days drag into weeks, as the police lose interest and fliers fade on telephone poles, Emma’s father finds solace in religion and scientific probability—but Abby can only wander the beaches and city streets, attempting to recover the past and the little girl she lost. With her life at a crossroads, she will leave San Francisco for a country thousands of miles away. And there, by the side of another sea, on a journey that has led her to another man and into a strange subculture of wanderers and surfers, Abby will make the most astounding discovery of all—as the truth of Emma’s disappearance unravels with stunning force.

A profoundly original novel of family, loss, and hope—of the choices we make and the choices made for us—The Year of Fog beguiles with the mysteries of time and memory even as it lays bare the deep and wondrous workings of the human heart. The result is a mesmerizing tour de force that will touch anyone who knows what it means to love a child.

BONUS: This edition includes an excerpt from Michelle Richmond's Golden State.
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About the author

Michelle Richmond is the author of The Year of Fog, Dream of the Blue Room, and The Girl in the Fall-Away Dress. Her stories and essays have appeared in Glimmer Train, Playboy, The Oxford American, and elsewhere. She has been a James Michener Fellow, and her fiction has received the Associated Writing Programs Award and the Mississippi Review Prize. A native of Mobile, Alabama, Michelle lives with her husband and son in San Francisco, where she is at work on her next novel.

From the Hardcover edition.
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64 total

Additional Information

Delacorte Press
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Published on
Mar 27, 2007
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Fiction / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Sagas
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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How far is too far when it comes to protecting your marriage? Find out in this relentlessly paced novel of psychological suspense for anyone who loved The Couple Next Door.

“Ranks with The Stepford Wives and Gone Girl as a terrifying look at what it really means to say ‘I do.’”—Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of The Switch

Newlyweds Alice and Jake are a picture-perfect couple. Alice, once a singer in a well-known rock band, is now a successful lawyer. Jake is a partner in an up-and-coming psychology practice. Their life together holds endless possibilities. After receiving an enticing wedding gift from one of Alice’s prominent clients, they decide to join an exclusive and mysterious group known only as The Pact.

The goal of The Pact seems simple: to keep marriages happy and intact. And most of its rules make sense. Always answer the phone when your spouse calls. Exchange thoughtful gifts monthly. Plan a trip together once per quarter. . . .

Never mention The Pact to anyone.

Alice and Jake are initially seduced by the glamorous parties, the sense of community, their widening social circle of like-minded couples.

And then one of them breaks the rules.

The young lovers are about to discover that for adherents to The Pact, membership, like marriage, is for life. And The Pact will go to any lengths to enforce that rule.

For Jake and Alice, the marriage of their dreams is about to become their worst nightmare.

Praise for The Marriage Pact

“This fast-paced nail-biter goes in unpredictable directions. . . . It also raises thoughtful questions about individual agency and marital commitment. With strong writing, intriguing characters, and a compelling conceit, this psychological thriller seems destined for the top of summer reading lists. Recommended as a fresh voice for readers of Gillian Flynn or Ruth Ware.”—Library Journal (starred review)
“Creepy and engrossing . . . [The Marriage Pact takes] readers deep into the heart of a marriage and exposes some of the darker drives, such as possession and control, that can lurk within even the most harmonious of unions.”—Booklist

“Gripping, thought-provoking, and irresistible.”—Dean Koontz

“Riveting psychological suspense! This book will keep you up all night, while making you second-guess everything you know and everyone you’ve ever loved.”—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Right Behind You
Michelle Richmond dazzled readers and critics alike with her luminous novel The Year of Fog. Now Richmond returns with an intensely emotional, multilayered family drama—a woman’s search for her sister’s killer that spirals into a journey of secrets, revelations, and damaged lives.

All her life Ellie Enderlin had been known as Lila’s sister. Until one day, without warning, the shape of their family changed forever. Twenty years ago, Lila, a top math student at Stanford, was murdered in a crime that was never solved. In the aftermath of her sister’s death, Ellie entrusted her most intimate feelings to a man who turned the story into a bestselling true crime book—a book that both devastated her family and identified one of Lila’s professors as the killer.

Decades later, two Americans meet in a remote village in Nicaragua. Ellie is now a professional coffee buyer, an inveterate traveler and incapable of trust. Peter is a ruined academic. And their meeting is not by chance. As rain beats down on the steaming rooftops of the village, Peter leaves Ellie with a gift—the notebook that Lila carried everywhere, a piece of evidence not found with her body. Stunned, Ellie will return home to San Francisco to explore the mysteries of Lila’s notebook, filled with mathematical equations, and begin a search that has been waiting for her all these years. It will lead her to a hundred-year-old mathematical puzzle, to a lover no one knew Lila had, to the motives and fate of the man who profited from their family’s anguish—and to the deepest secrets even sisters keep from each other. As she connects with people whose lives unknowingly swirled around her own, Ellie will confront a series of startling revelations—from the eloquent truths of numbers to confessions of love, pain and loss.

A novel about the stories and lies that strangers, lovers and families tell—and the secrets we keep even from ourselves—Michelle Richmond’s new novel is a work of astonishing depth and beauty, at once heartbreaking, provocative, and impossible to put down.

From the Hardcover edition.
The state of California votes on secession in the wake of a divisive presidential election in this gripping, prescient novel of marriage, family, and the profound moments that shape our lives.

Doctor Julie Walker has just signed her divorce papers when she receives news that her younger sister, Heather, has gone into labor. Though theirs is a strained relationship, Julie sets out for the hospital to be at her sister’s side—no easy task since the streets of San Francisco are filled with tension and strife. Today is also the day that Julie will find herself at the epicenter of a violent standoff in which she is forced to examine both the promising and the painful parts of her past—her Southern childhood; her romance with her husband, Tom; her estrangement from Heather; and the shattering incident that led to her greatest heartbreak.

Infused with emotional depth and poignancy, Golden State takes readers on a journey over the course of a single, unforgettable day—through an extraordinary landscape of love, loss, and hope.

Praise for Golden State

“A stirring look at the ties that bind husband-wife, mother-child and even sisters, and what happens when they’re torn asunder. Set in a San Francisco chafing with unrest both political and personal, the world Richmond creates is exquisitely charged with regret and hope.”—Family Circle

“[A] riveting read that can be recommended to fans of Jodi Picoult and Jacquelyn Mitchard . . . Mesmerizing and intricate, Richmond’s dissection of a California on the violent brink of secession from the nation provides the backdrop to her deeper inspection of the uneasy, fragile relationship between siblings.”—Booklist (starred review)

“[An] amazing, turbulent novel woven of disparate threads . . . Nearly every feature of this mesmerizing novel is provocative, as Richmond explores the fragmented, hopeful lives of complex characters. This is gripping, multilayered must-read fiction.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“An exciting premise . . . skillfully written . . . Julie’s past and her relationship with the other characters are scrutinized as the clock ticks. It’s an interesting and sometimes-disturbing study.”—Kirkus Reviews
“Richmond takes readers through a bittersweet, heartwarming tale of a woman on the cusp of life-changing events in both her personal and professional lives. . . . Once invested, the reader is carried away by this action-packed, poignant story, making this a tale that will live in the heart of the reader once the last page is read.”—RT Book Reviews
“This is a thoughtful book about how past circumstances change us into the people we are today, for the good or bad. Julie is a sympathetic and relatable character, and readers will definitely feel for her as she goes through her life-changing day.”—The Parkersburg News and Sentinel
“Richmond . . . delivers a page-turner.”—San Jose Mercury News

“A breathtaking read and one I’ll not soon forget.”—Melanie Benjamin, author of The Aviator’s Wife

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