cover image Social Engagement

Social Engagement

Avery Carpenter Forrey. Mariner, $28.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-329490-5

Forrey, coauthor of How to Skimm Your Life, makes her fiction debut with a smart and appealing chronicle of a woman reexamining her life on her wedding night. As a middle-class child spending summers at the beach in Rhode Island, Callie Holt befriends wealthy Virginia Murphy and her cousin Ollie. She obtains a scholarship to attend Brown University with Ollie and Virginia, where she strikes up a romantic relationship with Ollie that he urges her to keep secret. After college, Callie, whose late father, Walter, was an unpublished novelist, gives up on her dreams of a career as an artist to work in communications, while Ollie and Virginia have the means to focus on photography and painting, respectively. Several years later, Callie moves into a Murphy family pied-à-terre in New York City with Virginia, where she discovers Walter’s unfinished novel in a chest of drawers. As she reads it, Callie comes to suspect that her father had an affair with Virginia’s mother. Adding to the drama are Callie’s lingering feelings for Ollie, and Ollie and Virginia’s plagiarizing of Callie’s artwork. The author wrings plenty of tension from Callie’s complicated relationship with her benefactors, and portrays the book’s multifaceted characters with honesty and tenderness, especially as events build toward a climactic wedding-night confrontation. Readers will enjoy this heartfelt story. Agent: Allison Hunter, Trellis Literary Management. (May)