Like Anita Shreve, Myerson writes in a literary and yet accessible manner. Her fifth book is a story of a troubled woman who falls for an outsider who has come to uncover the truth.
A senseless murder in a sleepy seaside town in Suffolk catastrophically disrupts the lives of two families in this rather predictable but artful novel by Myerson (Laura Blundy; Me and the Fat Man; etc.). The victim is Lennie, a potter and mother of two, who is found dead in a parking lot after a PTA meeting. Her grisly murder was presumably a random act, and the novel is primarily the story of the emotional reaction of those around her. Tess, the narrator and Lennie's best friend, is jarred from the idyllic domesticity of her life with her four children and husband Mick, and is forced to acknowledge troubling fault lines. It has been a year since she slept with Mick, and a flirtation with the police psychologist sent to comfort Lennie's grieving husband, Alex, turns into something more. Clinging to her infant daughter, Liv, as if to a lifeline the physical sensations of motherhood are vividly evoked Tess grapples with her complicated feelings for her husband and her children. Matters take a fantastic turn when Tess's daughter Rosa and son Jordan claim to have seen Lennie, and Rosa wanders off, plummeting Tess into new terror as the village, once a comfortable retreat, comes to seem a sinister dead end, a place trapped between sea and sky. The steady rhythm of Myerson's writing and her precise narration lend her story an elegant inevitability; the spare, smooth-flowing dialogue makes her characters spring vividly to life. Despite the well-worn plot, the author manages to create something rich and intimate, a tale steeped in the physical impulses and mental habits of family life.