cover image A Year After Henry

A Year After Henry

Cathie Pelletier. Sourcebooks Landmark, $14.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-4022-9678-9

Pelletier (The Weight of Winter) chronicles the effects of the charismatic Henry Munroe’s death on his loved ones as they soldier on in the town of Bixley, Maine. Spoiled by his natural charm and good looks, Henry flitted through life first as a favorite son and a football hero, then as a ladies’ man who took well to his mailman duties. His wife Jeanie, who collected receipts and other evidence of his latest infidelity, is devastated that she wasn’t able to confront her husband prior to his death. Henry’s mistress, the clairvoyant bartender Evie Cooper, begins an affair with Henry’s underappreciated older brother, Larry, who has hit rock bottom, having lost his teaching job, his wife, and his son and retreated to his childhood bedroom in his parents’ house where he reads other people’s mail. Henry’s teenaged son, Chad, has turned to drinking and hangs out at the local bar in an effort to connect with Larry. Everyone dreads the upcoming memorial service that Henry’s parents have planned. Pelletier’s writing bristles with sharp descriptions and her story hums along at a satisfying pace, drawing the reader in with sympathetic and utterly believable characters. (Aug.)