cover image The Real Mrs. Tobias

The Real Mrs. Tobias

Sally Koslow. Harper, $18 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-322374-5

In this engaging outing, Koslow (Another Side of Paradise) explores the complex dynamics roiling a Jewish family as it faces an ethical dilemma. The Tobias family has gathered for weekly Shabbat led by matriarch, Veronika, an intimidating psychiatrist; her daughter-in-law, Mel Glazer, a psychotherapist with a thriving business; Mel’s freewheeling son, Micah, who operates a food truck serving mashed potatoes; and Micah’s wife, Birdie Peterson, a Lutheran who left Iowa and a writing career to live with Micah in New York City. At the dinner, Micah relates his latest escapade: after a night drinking, he absentmindedly hit “something” on the road with his truck but failed to report the accident. Later, Mel’s client Norah discloses that her assistant was gravely injured in a hit-and-run by a food truck. As Mel realizes it was Micah’s doing, she probes Norah in later sessions for details on the investigation. Meanwhile, Birdie abandons Micah and takes their three-year-old daughter back to her family’s farm, refusing to return until he turns himself in. Koslow puts a tidy bow on the ending, which more than strains credulity, but she brings depth to her portrayal of a meddling mother and mother-in-law while exploring how family ties can both constrict and protect. Readers who love layered family dramas should take a look. Agent: Sarah Fuentes, Fletcher & Co. (Sept.)