Stephen and Nancy Cole have two boys under three. Nancy had always been vocal about the need for mothers to give up work for the first few years of their kids’ lives. She did so — and is now barely clinging onto her sanity. Stephen can tell that something's up with her but he doesn’t investigate too hard. After a tough day in a job he doesn’t enjoy, he just wants some down time with his beloved video games.
Next door to Nancy and Stephen live the McNamaras, Julie and Vincent. Julie works in advertising, while Vincent stays home with their baby and Jeremy Kyle (not literally). He’s besotted with his daughter and understands that his wife has the greater earning power. Still, he can't help but wonder if he has somehow stunted his masculinity. He has no idea that Julie wonders the same thing and is sliding towards an affair.
Across the street live the Dunlops, Leo and Deirdre. Leo, a serious record collector, has been unemployed for six months. Deirdre works as a PA in a dreary plumbing supplies company. They desperately want a baby but it isn’t happening, despite a sexual regime that has left them mentally and physically bruised. Deirdre tortures herself with the idea that her minor weight problem is to blame and spends every night on exercise bike. Leo, meanwhile, has given up on himself and is now merely pretending to look for work.
Stephen is the first of the husbands to decide that what he really needs — nay, deserves — is a man cave, a place where he can kick back and be alone. He empties out the garage and turns it into a shrine to gaming. Vincent likes the idea and follows suit, making himself landlord and sole patron of a little mock pub. Before long, Leo completes the set, clearing out the old paint cans and dragging in hundreds of records.
Nancy, Julie and Deirdre react to these moves with varying degrees of horror, disgust and low-level violence. Tensions that had been bubbling under now bubble very much over and before long, all three relationships are in crisis.
George is a fashion mad Beatles fan, selfish and cruel. Why his girlfriend Dorothy loves him is a mystery to her and to his best friend Sammy. When George callously chucks her he cannot anticipate that his life, post 1964, will never be the same. And forty-four years later, when George is sixty-four, rich and successful, his past will catch up with him and his family.
'Connolly unfolds a rich and compelling drama of life that is anything but everyday' Daily Mail
'It is Connolly's skill to get the reader to laugh at what should make you cry or at least wince' Times Literary Supplement
—Ron Charles, The Washington Post
A razor-sharp and deeply felt novel that illuminates the pivotal role of work in our lives—a riveting fusion of The Nest, Up in the Air, and Then We Came to the End that captures the emotional complexities of five HR colleagues trying to balance ambition, hope, and fear as their small company is buffeted by economic forces that threaten to upend them.
Rosa Guerrero beat the odds as she rose to the top of the corporate world. An attractive woman of a certain age, the longtime chief of human resources at Ellery Consumer Research is still a formidable presence, even if her most vital days are behind her. A leader who wields power with grace and discretion, she has earned the devotion and loyalty of her staff. No one admires Rosa more than her doting lieutenant Leo Smalls, a benefits vice president whose whole world is Ellery.
While Rosa is consumed with trying to address the needs of her staff within the ever-constricting limits of the company’s bottom line, her associate director, Rob Hirsch, a middle-aged, happily married father of two, finds himself drawing closer to his "work wife," Lucy Bender, an enterprising single woman searching for something—a romance, a promotion—to fill the vacuum in her personal life. For Kenny Verville, a senior manager with an MBA, Ellery is a temporary stepping-stone to bigger and better places—that is, if his high-powered wife has her way.
Compelling, flawed, and heartbreakingly human, these men and women scheme, fall in and out of love, and nurture dreams big and small. As their individual circumstances shift, one thing remains constant—Rosa, the sun around whom they all orbit. When her world begins to crumble, the implications for everyone are profound, and Leo, Rob, Lucy, and Kenny find themselves changed in ways beyond their reckoning.
Jillian Medoff explores the inner workings of an American company in all its brilliant, insane, comforting, and terrifying glory. Authentic, razor-sharp, and achingly funny, This Could Hurt is a novel about work, loneliness, love, and loyalty; about sudden reversals and unexpected windfalls; a novel about life.
All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .
Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life---children, careers, bills, chores---even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm's way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own---for everything that matters to his family.
At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope.