cover image The Making of Us

The Making of Us

Lisa Jewell. Atria, $15 trade paper (403p) ISBN 978-1-4516-0911-0

In U.K. bestseller Jewell’s ninth novel, readers meet Daniel, a man with a secret: as a sperm donor, he fathered four children. Now, dying from cancer at 53, he wants to find them and enlists his friend Maggie to help. The wealthy Lydia is lonely and disconnected from others; the 21-year-old Dean is a confused young father, coping with parenthood after the recent death of his girlfriend; Robin, a young woman determined to be a doctor, is enmeshed in a love affair with a writer. She knows the story of her conception and has become concerned that her boyfriend, Jack, who looks, thinks, and acts like her, could be her sibling; “It was surely so improbable as to be entirely impossible,” she thinks, yet also acknowledges that it “might not in fact be pure random coincidence” that she and Jack would be drawn together. The identity of Daniel’s fourth child remains a mystery that is only solved when Lydia, Dean, and Robin become determined to find their father. Jewell’s moving novel immerses readers in the lives of these unique characters through the universal themes of family and a search for belonging. While the pseudo-incest thread is unnecessary, it’s also quite funny. Jewell (After the Party) has written a compelling and entertaining novel. Agent: Deborah Schneider, Gelfman Schneider. (Aug.)