“A gripping and poignant ode to a messy, loving family in all its glory.” —Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Circe
A New York Times Bestseller
Longlisted for the Women's Prize for Fiction
In this “rich, complex family saga” (USA Today) full of long-buried family secrets, Marilyn Connolly and David Sorenson fall in love in the 1970s, blithely ignorant of all that awaits them. By 2016, they have four radically different daughters, each in a state of unrest.
Wendy, widowed young, soothes herself with booze and younger men; Violet, a litigator turned stay-at-home-mom, battles anxiety and self-doubt; Liza, a neurotic and newly tenured professor, finds herself pregnant with a baby she's not sure she wants by a man she's not sure she loves; and Grace, the dawdling youngest daughter, begins living a lie that no one in her family even suspects.
With the unexpected arrival of young Jonah Bendt—a child placed for adoption by one of the daughters fifteen years before—the Sorensons will be forced to reckon with the rich and varied tapestry of their past. As they grapple with years marred by adolescent angst, infidelity, and resentment, they also find the transcendent moments of joy that make everything else worthwhile.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Claire Lombardo’s debut novel drew us right in with its chronicle of four sisters. This satisfying story looks at the lives of Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace Sorensen over four-plus decades; their narratives twist and turn, giving new credence to the old saying that life is full of surprises. None of the women lead a tidy, picture-perfect existence, and each envies the devotion shared by their long-together parents. Lombardo’s loving and honest portraits of each sister and her bumpy travels through modern American life make The Most Fun We Ever Had a heartrending, emotional read.
Lombardo's impressive debut follows the Sorenson clan physician David, wife Marilyn, and their four daughters: Wendy, Violet, Liza, and Grace through the 1970s to 2017. David and Marilyn raised the family in a rambling suburban Chicago house that belonged to Marilyn's father. The daughters find varying degrees of success in their professional lives but fail to find the passion and romance that their parents continue to have in their own marriage. Wendy is a wealthy widow with a foul mouth and a drinking problem. Violet is a former lawyer turned stay-at-home mother of two young sons. At 32, Liza is a tenured professor with a depressive boyfriend. The baby of the family, 20-something Grace, is the only one of the daughters to have moved away, and now lives in Oregon. The daughters' lives are in various stages of tumult: Wendy locates Jonah, the teenage son Violet gave up for adoption years prior; Violet struggles to integrate Jonah into her perfectly controlled life; Liza is shocked to discover she is pregnant; and Grace lies about being in law school after she was rejected. Lombardo captures the complexity of a large family with characters who light up the page with their competition, secrets, and worries. Despite its length and number of plotlines, the momentum never flags, making for a rich and rewarding family saga. \n
My favorite book.
A read that is beautiful, heartbreaking, addicting, and real.
The story reads as if they are all real people: flawed, loving, bitter, supportive, jealous, pitiful - as all families are. It’s a glimpse into a family life you wish you’d had but are at least glad you’ve experienced their joys and heartbreaks.
Complex, intricate and delightful
I loved the intricacy of the characters the complexities of their relationships and the misunderstandings amongst them. So real life very well detailed and explained. It took me a lot longer to read every sentence was complex from multiple points of view and I wanted to savor each one.