Stories--in real life and in fiction--take on lives of their own in Julianna Baggott's, Harriet Wolf's Seventh Book of Wonders. This sensitively rendered, well-balanced novel is told via four, female points-of-view. At the heart is Harriet Wolf, a reclusive, revered author of six adventurous novels featuring two characters, Daisy and Weldon, who fall in love with each other as children and as they age, from book to book, are "separated by wars and disasters, by acts of God and calamities of the heart. When they finally reunite they suffer." Harriet died before the seventh book was published, yet enamored readers believe it would've revealed whether the entire series "was a tragedy or a love story, whether humanity is basically good or doomed."
Harriet's daughter, Eleanor—a mother with two adult daughters of her own—despises and resents her mother's success and having had to share Harriet with the world. When Eleanor suffers a mild heart attack, her own fractured nuclear family reunites. This includes Ruth—married to a Harriett Wolf scholar, but trying to lead a "normal" life while estranged from the family for 14 years—and Tilton—a sheltered, "special needs" shut-in—who shared an intimate bond with her grandmother and made a pact with her regarding the rumored seventh book. With Eleanor ailing, is it time for Tilton to finally expose the mystery surrounding Harriet's last book?
With keen insight, Baggott (Burn) offers an original, richly textured story infused with dark secrets, promises, loyalties, love stories and the psychological complexities of family dynamics across generations.
Little, Brown and Company, $26.00 Hardcover, 9780316375108, 336 pp
Publication Date: August 18, 2015