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Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-07-02
- Reviewer: Staff
McFadden's newest novel (after So Happy Together) is the subtly complex tale of an aspiring author, a struggling bookseller, an Iraq War veteran, and the pursuit of a dream that brings them all together. Lucy Barrett has long desired to see her book in the hands of readers, but big publishers won't pay her any mind. So Lucy self-publishes A Quiet Wanting and gets the attention of Ruth Hardaway, owner of The Book Lover bookstore. Shortly after Ruth proposes to host a signing for Lucy, Lucy discovers that her husband, a longtime gambler, is headed to jail for theft, and to top it all off, he wants a divorce. Now thoroughly untethered from her old life, Lucy leaves Florida and drives to New Jersey, where Ruth has offered Lucy the use of an unused cabin, but under one condition: Lucy must help look after Ruth's son, Colin, a crippled vet. Lucy and Colin soon warm to each other, but Ruth, struggling under the stress of keeping the bookstore afloat, begins to view Lucy's imposition on her life to be the manipulations of a woman desperate for recognition. As they all try to navigate their newfound affections and fears, each character must assess their hopes and aspirations in light of present conditions. Along the way, McFadden skirts the edge of clichéd territory, but in the end, a refusal to give her characters easy outs makes this a believable story of self-discovery. (May)