marriage

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Everybody Has Everything by Kristen Onstad

After years of trying to have a baby, James and Ana unexpectedly become instant parents of a toddler whose parents have been killed (the dad) and possibly fatally injured (the mom) in a car accident. James dives into fathering while Ana keeps her distance, and their lives, identities and even their formerly happy marriage are put to the test. Canadian writer Onstad creates a story that rises far above chick lit, with evocative prose, fully realized characters, and a conclusion that is both unpredictable and true-to-life.

Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O’Farrell

A loving but dysfunctional Irish English family converges at the family homestead in London during the legendary British heatwave of 1976 when the dad goes out for the morning paper and never returns.  As abandoned wife Gretta worries about her husband’s whereabouts, son Michael Francis (two kids, failing marriage) shows up to help, and favorite daughter Monica (failed marriage, shaky second marriage with two dreadful stepdaughters) also drops by.

Daughters-in-Law by Joanna Trollope

Another absorbing and insightful contemporary family story from Joanna Trollope, this one focusing on the sometimes fraught relationships between parents and their adult children.  When Rachel and Anthony's youngest son marries, the arrival of a third daughter-in-law into the extended family mix brings new complications and power struggles.  Trollope excels at switching viewpoints from one character to another and you will find yourself sympathizing and becoming exasperated in turns with Rachel and her sons and daughters-in-law.

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