An idyllic summer vacation to France becomes a turning point for a 33-year-old woman, her ex and their 10-year-old son.
Catherine Isaac is the pen name for British author Jane Costello (Summer Nights at the Moonlight Hotel), who chose a pseudonym for her American debut, You Me Everything. In Manchester, England, 22-year-old Jess is deep in labor. While facing the agony of childbirth with her mum at her side, Jess is furious that her boyfriend, Adam--a man whom Jess fell in love with in college, who is the baby's father--is markedly absent. By the time Jess cradles son William in her arms, Adam surfaces, reeking of stale booze and another woman's perfume.
The timeline then leaps ahead 10 years. Jess, a teacher of creative writing at a local college, is a single mother. Adam--never wanting a child or to settle down--lives luxuriously, managing a beautiful hotel in the hills of Southwestern France. He is "not a neglectful father," Jess says. "He pays his maintenance on time, remembers William's birthday and Skypes when he says he will. But our son is no more than a small piece in the jigsaw of Adam's colorful life."
It is Jess's mother who insists that William needs to have a more substantial relationship with his father. Mother and son then make the long journey to Château de Roussignol, Adam's stomping ground. There she hopes free-spirited, fun-loving Adam and inquisitive, bright William will finally form a tighter bond. What ensues is a tender and reflective story that covers a span of five weeks.
This is a multi-layered, heartbreaking story of abiding love. Isaac's graceful, nuanced storytelling gains an unexpected depth and clarity readers are sure to find riveting.
Pamela Dorman/Viking, $26.00 Hardcover, 9780735224537, 368 pages
Publication Date: May 1, 2018
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NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (May 15, 2018), link HERE