cover image Deep Down True

Deep Down True

Juliette Fay, Penguin, $15 trade paper (432p) ISBN 978-0-14-311851-0

Familiar material—a newly divorced woman navigating the choppy waters of single parenthood—gets sensitive treatment in this subtle novel by the author of Shelter Me. Connecticut homemaker Dana Stellgarten tends to give everyone the benefit of the doubt, even her philandering ex-husband, but she's having a tough time staying nice as she deals with the discovery of her preteen daughter's bulimia, her seven-year-old son's acting out, a friend's betrayal, and her teenage niece's emotional crash landing at her house. Nevertheless, Dana reaches out to the family of a terminally ill doctor, deals with a bull-in-a-china-shop suitor, and even finds love in an unexpected place. Fay deals honestly with Dana's emotional journey as she strives "to understand how what had been true before had changed into what was true now" and gives readers a believable cast, from the daughter struggling with the wolf-pack mentality of middle school to Dana's sometimes obnoxious yet fiercely loving sister. It expertly walks a heavily trodden path. (Feb.)