Emily Chenoweth’s debut novel is a compelling and delicate tale of a family’s painful loss, realized within relationships new and old. Helen Hansen—wife of Elliott, mother to Abby—suffers from brain cancer and has only a few months to live. Elliott takes the family and a flock of old friends to the bucolic Presidential Hotel for their twentieth wedding anniversary, a joyous celebration that subtly doubles as a chance to say their last goodbyes. As everyone at the party slowly begins to accept the awful reality, the truths that lie beneath our everyday comforts begin to emerge. Chenoweth has slight problems with dialogue and language typical of any first-time novelist. But considering the artistry with which she blends the character’s emotions into our own, we can allow these minor problems in the face of such immortal dilemmas as untimely death.
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