cover image I Couldn’t Love You More

I Couldn’t Love You More

Esther Freud. Ecco, $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-0-063-05718-0

Freud’s beautiful and insightful latest (after Mr. Mac and Me) focuses on three generations of distinct and well-drawn women. In 1939, Aiofe Kelly marries the dashing Cashel. They run a London pub and send their daughters to a Catholic boarding school in the Irish countryside during the war. Rosaleen, their feisty daughter, hopes to be a journalist, but her dreams are put on hold in 1959 when an opportunity at the Daily Express turns out to be a lowly mail-sorting job. She omits mention of her diminished circumstances in letters to her parents and falls in love with a Jewish sculptor, Felix Lichtman, many years her senior, and becomes pregnant, only to learn he already has a wife and child. Next, the reader meets Kate, who, in 1991, is married to a hapless musician with a drinking problem. Kate adores their daughter, Freya, and is an artist in her own right. Kate, who was adopted, frequently imagines seeing her birth mother, whom she learned about at age 10. As Freud delves into the three women’s lives, the reader is taken on a journey of heartbreak as desperate actions taken to protect loved ones are revealed. This eloquent exploration of the ineffable ties between mothers and daughters delivers the goods. Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners. (July)