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Body of a Girl

by Leah Stewart

[From the dust jacket:] "In the Memphis summer, the heat clings heavy like a second skin. Olivia Dale's job as a novice crime reporter is at once surreal--stepping in and out of strangers' lives with her notebook-- and all too real. As she studies the curled-up body of a young woman who has been kidnapped and gruesomely killed, she observes that "the place has the postapocalyptic stillness that comes when something terrible has been and gone, as though even the air has slowed like a passing car to survey the damage." Staring at the girl's painted toenails, Olivia wonders: Could I have been that girl? After all, as she chases a lead story, Olivia discovers that Allison Avery--so all-American, so similar to Olivia in age and looks--was more like her than she wants to believe. Partly out of gutsy ambition to get a front-page story and partly to reassure herself that this could not have been a random act, Olivia becomes determined to find out who the murderer was. As she grows more and more obsessed with Allison, Olivia begins to shuck off her own cautious self and become everything she believes Allison was: charismatic, vivacious, and unafraid. She too begins to flirt with living as close to the edge as possible, with nearly tragic consequences. Taut and suspenseful, Body of a Girl is a powerful story of a young woman venturing into the unknown and questioning all her choices. Leah Stewart's debut novel is one of enthralling entertainment and breathtaking intensity. Here emerges an exciting new voice that will keep you mesmerize Leah Stewart's short stories have appeared in The Kenyon Review and other publications. A former associate editor of Doubletake magazine, she lives outside of Chapel Hill, North Carolina. This is her first novel."

The History of Us

by Leah Stewart

Sometimes home is the hardest place to go. In the newest novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me (which Claire Messud called "poignant, fierce, and compelling"), three grown siblings return to their childhood home and face a family secret that forces them to reexamine their relationships to each other--and to the aunt who took them in as children. Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach a class at Harvard when she receives a devastating phone call. Her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident, and Eloise must return home to Cincinnati to take their three children, Theodora, Josh, and Claire, out of the hands of her own incapable mother. She moves back into her mother's century-old house and, after her mother leaves, pours her own money into its upkeep. Nearly two decades later, Eloise is still in that house with now-grown Theo, Josh, and Claire, still thinking about the career and life she left behind, even as she pushes the kids to get a move on. With Claire leaving for New York City for a promising ballet career, Eloise has plans to finally sell the house and start a life that's hers alone. But when her mother creates a competition for which of them gets the house and Claire turns out to have a life-changing secret, their makeshift family begins to fall apart. The History of Us is a heartrending story of loss, sibling relationships, and the life you make in the path not taken.

Husband and Wife

by Leah Stewart

In this new novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me, a young mother discovers that her husband's novel about infidelity might be drawn from real life. Sarah Price is thirty-five years old. She doesn't feel as though she's getting older, but there are some noticeable changes: a hangover after two beers, the stray gray hair, and, most of all, she's called "Mom" by two small children. Always responsible, Sarah traded her MFA for a steady job, which allows her husband, Nathan, to write fiction. But Sarah is happy and she believes Nathan is too, until a truth is revealed: Nathan's upcoming novel, Infidelity, is based in fact. Suddenly Sarah's world is turned upside down. Adding to her confusion, Nathan abdicates responsibility for the fate of their relationship and of his novel's publication-a financial lifesaver they have been depending upon-leaving both in Sarah's hands. Reeling from his betrayal, she is plagued by dark questions. How well does she really know Nathan? And, more important, how well does she know herself? For answers, Sarah looks back to her artistic twenty-something self to try to understand what happened to her dreams. When did it all seem to change? Pushed from her complacent plateau, Sarah begins to act-for the first time not so responsibly-on all the things she has let go of for so long: her blank computer screen; her best friend, Helen; the volumes of Proust on her bookshelf. And then there is that e-mail in her inbox: a note from Rajiv, a beautiful man from her past who once tempted her to stray. The struggle to find which version of herself is the essential one-artist, wife, or mother-takes Sarah hundreds of miles away from her marriage on a surprising journey. Wise, funny, and sharply drawn, Leah Stewart's Husband and Wife probes our deepest relationships, the promises we make and break, and the consequences they hold for our lives, revealing that it's never too late to step back and start over.

The Myth of You and Me

by Leah Stewart

When Cameron was fifteen, Sonia was her best friend. They were inseparable - no one could come between them - and they were going to be best friends for ever. Now Cameron is a 30-year-old research assistant with no meaningful ties to anyone except her elderly boss, celebrated historian Oliver Doucet. Having led a gypsy life for the past decade, she has found a temporary peace and place to hide from life with this worldly wise and feisty 94-year-old. But Cameron's safe haven is shattered when a letter arrives out of the blue from Sonia, ten years after the incident that ended their friendship. Despite Oliver's urging, Cameron flatly refuses to reply. But he has the last word. When Oliver dies, he leaves Cameron with one final task: to track Sonia down andhand-deliver a mysterious package to her. Without a job, a home or a purpose, Cameron sets off to find this stranger who was once her inseparable other half. THE MYTH OF YOU AND ME exposes the passionate and particular bonds of female friendship - as intense as and more lasting than any love affair - from adolescence to adulthood. This is a story all women will recognise and one that will appeal to anyone who has ever loved and lost a best friend - or who just needs to remember why the one they have is so important.

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