cover image Her Turn

Her Turn

Katherine Ashenburg. Harper Perennial, $16.99 trade paper (288p) ISBN 978-0-063-08444-5

Ashenburg’s gratifying latest (after Sofie & Cecilia) follows a journalist who starts a dubious friendship with her ex-husband’s wife. On the surface, Liz appears to be doing well: she has a close relationship with her adult son, Peter, and edits the popular “My Turn” column at a prestigious Washington, D.C., newspaper. However, her life is rattled when Nicole, the woman her ex-husband Sidney left her for 10 years earlier, submits an essay about her married life to “My Turn” without knowing Liz is the column’s editor. Liz, posing as another editor, begins an ethically questionable email correspondence with Nicole to find out more about her life with Sidney. As the communications continue, Liz wonders why she tends to push away eligible suitors in favor of pursuing emotionless affairs with her married boss or the narcissistic poet she’s entangled with. With her life unraveling, Liz realizes her inability to move past Sidney’s betrayal threatens both her romantic relationships and her connection with Peter, who distances himself from Liz once he realizes the extent of her resentment of his father. Liz lands as a strong character with complex motivations and a believable personal evolution who transcends the often caricatured figure of the jilted ex-wife. With its fruitful examination of betrayal and forgiveness, Ashenburg’s engrossing latest should appeal to fans of Nora Ephron. (Aug.)