cover image The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life

The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life

William Nicholson, Soho, $24 (346p) ISBN 978-1-56947-647-5

Piercing insights into married life and smalltown living distinguish Nicholson's thoughtful if quiet latest. Laura Broad, a married mother of two, has her domestic agenda seriously disrupted when she receives a surprise letter from Nick, her first love who broke her heart when they were young. His proposed visit to Laura's small Sussex town has her pondering a series of "what-ifs" and replaying the course of their passionate but short-lived love affair in largely unnecessary flashbacks. But Laura is not the only one with a secret life of the mind; her neighbors and acquaintances—including her son's teacher, the mother of one of his classmates, a little old lady and her beloved dog, and Laura's own husband—also carry their own hidden agendas and desires. A YA novelist and Academy Award–nominated screenwriter, Nicholson (The Wind Seeker) has a knack for crystallizing his themes in pivotal moments and deserves credit for not clouting the reader over the head with his affirmative message about the viability of two rapidly fading institutions: long-term marriage and English country life. (July)