January 12, 2013

The History of Us by Leah Stewart

The History of Us by Leah Stewart is a gripping novel about family dynamics, and the ways people deal with the grief of loved ones. Filled with smart and well-crafted characters, this is domestic fiction at its finest.

Book Description
Sometimes home is the hardest place to go.

In the newest novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me(which Claire Messud called “poignant, fierce, and compelling”), three grown siblings return to their childhood home and face a family secret that forces them to reexamine their relationships to each other—and to the aunt who took them in as children.

Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach a class at Harvard when she receives a devastating phone call. Her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident, and Eloise must return home to Cincinnati to take their three children, Theodora, Josh, and Claire, out of the hands of her own incapable mother. She moves back into her mother’s century-old house and, after her mother leaves, pours her own money into its upkeep.

Nearly two decades later, Eloise is still in that house with now-grown Theo, Josh, and Claire, still thinking about the career and life she left behind, even as she pushes the kids to get a move on. With Claire leaving for New York City for a promising ballet career, Eloise has plans to finally sell the house and start a life that’s hers alone. But when her mother creates a competition for which of them gets the house and Claire turns out to have a life-changing secret, their makeshift family begins to fall apart.

The History of Us is a heartrending story of loss, sibling relationships, and the life you make in the path not taken. ” – The History of Us

My Thoughts
The History of Us is a story with characters that you truly end up caring for. They are broken, but she creates ways for them to have hope and begin to heal, even if it does take a very long time for them to do so. The family dynamic is the main dish in this story, and it isn’t a simple one. It is a complex storyline with complex characters that will stick with you after you finish the last page.

This book will make you laugh, cry, and cherish the story for what it is: an excellent novel. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of The History of Us, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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