When three generations of women are brought together by crisis, they learn over the course of one hot summer the power of family to support, nourish and surprise
Lauren has the perfect life...if she ignores the fact it's a fragile house of cards, and that her daughter Mack has just had a teenage personality transplant.
Jenna is desperate to start a family with her husband, but it's... Just. Not. Happening. Her heart is breaking, but she's determined to keep her trademark smile on her face.
Nancy knows she hasn't been the best mother, but how can she ever tell Lauren and Jenna the reason why?
Then life changes in an instant, and Lauren, Mack, Jenna and Nancy are thrown together for a summer on Martha's Vineyard. Somehow, these very different women must relearn how to be a family. And while unraveling their secrets might be their biggest challege, the rewards could be infinite...
Heartwarming and fresh, Sarah Morgan's brilliant new novel is a witty and deeply uplifting look at the power of a family of women.
We hope that you enjoy the excerpt. Check it out below!
“You seem really distracted today. Does it bother you being forty?”
“What?” He glanced up from his emails.
“Forty.” Maybe she’d treated the whole thing too lightly. She needed to make sure he knew he was still handsome and desirable. More sex wouldn’t hurt. Sometimes the days slipped past and she’d realize it had been a week. Sometimes longer. The truth was sex between them had always been comfortable rather than urgent.
Was that normal? She had no idea because it wasn’t a topic she’d dream of discussing with friends.
Maybe he was having an affair?
Even though she’d stopped the treadmill, her heart rate continued to accelerate. No. Ed wasn’t like that. They didn’t lie to each other. That was what they’d agreed that first night they’d met. Lauren trusted Ed implicitly.
And they were happy. Happy couples didn’t have affairs.
“Are you worrying about Mack? I know she’s been difficult lately.”
She decided not to mention the pink hair. Let him notice it for himself later.
“All teenagers are difficult. I remember your mother saying your sister was a nightmare.”
Lauren realized she’d forgotten to call her sister the day before. Preparations for Ed’s birthday had eclipsed everything.
“All my mother wanted to do was paint, and she was irritated by anything that disturbed that.” Still, when Lauren thought back to some of the things she’d done with Jenna, it terrified her.
They were lucky to have come through childhood unscathed. Or mostly unscathed.
“She’s growing up.” Ed was calm. “She doesn’t have to tell us every little thing. She’s pushing for independence, and we’ve always encouraged that. And as for being difficult, it’s nature’s way of making sure teenagers want to leave home and that parents are ready to push them out of the door.”
“She’s sixteen, Ed. It’s years until she leaves home. And you know what the school told us. Mack is skipping homework and failing English. She’s always been a straight-A student. English is her best subject.”
Ed frowned. “Physics is her best subject. Last year she wanted to do aeronautical engineering.”
“That was before those girls started teasing her for being like a boy. Remember that horrible Facebook page they set up? Mack-the-man.” She’d been so upset she’d wanted to charge into school and chop off their damn princess hair with rusty scissors. It had taken a lot of maneuvering to have the page taken down and Mack had been left wounded. “She is smart. She could do what she likes, providing she works hard, but that’s the point. She isn’t. If she carries on like this, she’s going to fail her exams.” Unless there was an exam in sarcasm. Mack would ace that.
“There’s more to life than being a straight-A student, Lauren.”
“I know. But I also know how competitive the world is now. If you mess up your exams then you don’t get into a good college, and without a good college you don’t stand a chance of getting a good internship because there are literally thousands of people applying for every position. Sue Miller’s eldest graduated last summer and since then she has put in one hundred and fifty applications and hasn’t had a single interview. One hundred and fifty.”
“Calm down. Mack is going to be fine, Lauren.”
She was irritated that he didn’t even glance up from his phone.
“But what if she isn’t? The school told us she’s not speaking up in class.” And since when had her daughter not spoken up in class? Mack had been speaking up ever since she’d learned how to put two words together. “And then there was that incident a month ago—”
He glanced up. “That was a one-off.”
“She was drunk, Ed! Our daughter was drunk and Tanya’s mother had to drive her home.” And Mack had refused to offer any explanation. She’d shut them out. That had disturbed Lauren more than anything. Was that when Mack had changed?
“Teenagers experiment. Tanya’s mother should have kept a closer eye on the vodka bottle.”
“It wasn’t a one-off. What about the time she took money from my purse? Our child stole, Ed.” What if Mack was experimenting with drugs? The more she thought about the list of possible horrors, the more surprising it seemed that today’s teenagers ever made it to adulthood. “I think she’s keeping something from us.” She recognized the signs, and it made her uneasy. A secret, she knew, could eat away at you slowly. It created a barrier between you and the people you loved.
“Since when do teenagers tell their parents everything? You need to chill. Mack is doing okay. She’s not the problem.”
Lauren stared at him, wrong-footed.
“What do you mean?”
“You said, ‘She’s not the problem,’ which means something else is.”
“Forget it.” His attention was back on his phone. “I might be late tonight.”
“You’re kidding. Tonight is the party.”
“The—what?” He looked confused and then closed his eyes briefly and muttered something under his breath.
“Your party. Had you forgotten?”
The pause was infinitesimal, but it was there.
He was lying, and he never lied.
Who forgot their own fortieth birthday party?
What was on his mind?
“We have thirty people coming, Ed. Friends, colleagues, your mother—” She managed not to wince and Ed nodded.
“I’ll be there. See you later.” He grabbed a bottle of chilled water from the fridge they kept in the gym, and Lauren studied him from the back and wondered if tight Lycra cycling shorts on a man of forty was still a good look.
He slammed the fridge door shut and straightened.
“Thanks for the rainforest. It’s was a sweet thought and I’m sorry I overreacted.” He kissed her cheek. It was a dry, asexual gesture. “I love you. You’re a good woman, Lauren.”
A good woman? What did that mean?
“Maybe you should take time off. Mackenzie has three weeks at Easter. We could go away.”
“Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
Lauren watched him leave.
She’s not the problem.