An emotional debut for fans of Elizabeth Strout and Diane Chamberlain, The Ones We Keep follows the splintered lives of four family members in the years following an unthinkable tragedy, and the choices they must make to find their way back to each other.
One family. One tragedy. One incredible decision to change their fate.
A quiet lakeside resort in Vermont seems like the perfect summer getaway for Olivia and Harry Somerville and their three young boys. But in a single moment, their idyllic family retreat becomes a mother's worst nightmare. Returning from a solo hike one afternoon, Olivia learns from a passing stranger that one of her sons has drowned—but not which one.
In that moment, Olivia makes a panicked decision that will change her family forever.
If she never knows which son has drowned, can Olivia convince herself that none of them have? By shielding herself from reality, can she continue to live in a world where all three boys are still alive?
An emotional and heartfelt meditation on the nature of loss, the gift of recovery, and the bonds of love, The Ones We Keep tells the story of one family as they learn to face their grief and fight for hope.
Your next gripping book club read exploring the depths of a mother's love, the endurance of family, and the mind-bending paths we take to shield ourselves from heartache.
Huff debuts with the uneven story of a family's attempt to cope with the death of a child. A mother of three, Olivia Somerville goes on a solo hike during her family's Vermont lodge vacation in 1971, and on the trail she hears from strangers that a little boy from New Jersey has just drowned. She knows that it was one of her sons—either nine-year-old Brian, four-year-old Andrew, or toddler Rory, given that the only other children at the lodge are from Nebraska. Refusing to find out which son died, she heads back to Montclair, N.J., grabs a valuable painting and cash from her home, and leaves the family forever. She settles in North Port, Vt., where her son died (turns out it was Andrew), reclaims her maiden name, and detaches from her old life. Her husband, Harry, and the boys try to put their lives back together, reeling not only from Andrew's death but Olivia's disappearance. Huff follows the characters over the next three decades, culminating in a life-changing meeting. Huff is a fine prose stylist, but she doesn't make the central action of the book feel plausible, with Olivia's actions being particularly hard to believe. It's engrossing, but frustrating.