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You Are the Love of My Life

by Susan Richards Shreve |

People PICK

REVIEWED BY JOANNA POWELL

NOVEL

Don’t be put off by the sappy title: This finely crafted novel about a woman haunted by family secrets packs a smart punch. In 1973 Lucy Painter, a freewheeling children’s book illustrator, musters the courage to leave her married lover, who’s also the father of her two children. Smart move—except that she and the kids relocate to the Washington, D.C., home where she discovered the body of her own father after he committed suicide 22 years earlier. Told by her mother to keep the truth about that death secret, Lucy has lived plagued by shame, and the return reopens old wounds. With another cover-up-Watergate-unraveling across town, Lucy’s tangled web frays to breaking as her 11-year-old daughter lashes out at her mother’s “lies” and goes dangerously off the deep end. Spare, elegant and absolutely riveting, Shreve’s fascinating look at our human longing for love and security unfolds like a thriller. So cancel those dinner plans-you’ll want to keep reading.

When It Happens to You

by Molly Ringwald |

REVIEWED BY MEREDITH MARAN

STORIES

Actress Molly Ringwald displays true literary talent in this collection of linked stories exploring infertility, infidelity, estrangement and divorce. “You will try everything to heal yourself,” a woman silently tells the girl who stole her husband, only to be cheated upon in turn. “You will take drugs prescribed by doctors. You’ll take drugs not prescribed by doctors….” In another story a couple desperately longing to have a child “would wait in the doctor’s waiting room like weary warriors on the sidelines of a battle that already seemed to be lost.” Ringwald’s craft and keen insights make her debut shine.

Winter Journal

by Paul Auster |

REVIEWED BY KIM HUBBARD

MEMOIR

“You think … you are the only person in the world to whom none of these things will ever happen,” begins Auster’s intensely moving meditation on aging, “and then, one by one, they all begin to.” Faced with his own inevitable decline, the acclaimed author, 65, looks back at his life through the prism of his body’s experiences, from early sexual stirrings to the visceral shock of losing his parents to the comfort of sharing a bed with his wife of 30 years, writer Siri Hustvedt. “You have entered the winter of your life,” he tells himself. The warmth of memory will see him through.

COMMENTS? Write to the books editor: books@peoplemag.com