Outside the Lines: A Novel

Paperback | June 8, 2016

byAmy Hatvany

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A gripping novel about a woman who sets out to find the father who left her years ago, and ends up discovering herself.

When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life. 

Twenty years later, Eden runs a successful catering company and dreams of opening a restaurant. Since childhood, she has heard from her father only rarely, just enough to know that he’s been living on the streets and struggling with mental illness. But lately there has been no word at all. After a series of failed romantic relationships and a health scare from her mother, Eden decides it’s time to find her father, to forgive him at last, and move forward with her own life. Her search takes her to a downtown Seattle homeless shelter, and to Jack Baker, its handsome and charming director. Jack convinces Eden to volunteer her skills as a professional chef with the shelter. In return, he helps her in her quest. 

As the connection between Eden and Jack grows stronger, and their investigation brings them closer to David, Eden must come to terms with her true emotions, the secrets her mother has kept from her, and the painful question of whether her father, after all these years, even wants to be found. The result is an emotionally rich and honest novel about making peace with the past—and embracing the future.

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From the Publisher

A gripping novel about a woman who sets out to find the father who left her years ago, and ends up discovering herself.When Eden was ten years old she found her father, David, bleeding on the bathroom floor. The suicide attempt led to her parents’ divorce, and David all but vanished from Eden’s life. Twenty years later, Eden runs a suc...

Amy Hatvany is the author of three other novels, including Best Kept Secret. She lives in Seattle with her family.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:384 pages, 8.25 × 5.31 × 1.1 inPublished:June 8, 2016Publisher:Washington Square PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1451640544

ISBN - 13:9781451640540

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Customer Reviews of Outside the Lines: A Novel


Extra Content

Read from the Book

January 1989Eden “Eden West, come on down!” my father shouted from the base of the stairs. We were playing The Price Is Right and he was Bob Barker. It was a cold and clear Sunday morning and my mom was in the kitchen making breakfast. The smoky scent of bacon wafted through the hallway where we played. The sun shot a kaleidoscope of color through the beveled stained glass of our front door onto the floor. I sometimes liked to lie in that spot, pretending the patterned hues decorating my skin were a tattoo. At ten years old I fancied myself a rebel. I raced down the stairs in my nightgown and bare feet, skipping over the last three steps to land with a decided thump next to my father. The wide wooden planks beneath me creaked in protest and the crystal chandelier above the dining room table tinkled. “Eden!” my mother yelled from the kitchen. “This house is not your personal jungle gym. Settle down!” “Sorry, Mother!” my dad yelled back in a girlish, mocking voice. “Won’t happen again!” I giggled and my father winked at me. My father’s winks were our silent language. It’s you and me, kid, they said. We’re the only ones who get it. “Now, tell me, Miss West, just how excited are you to be here?” He held a wooden spoon like a microphone and moved it toward my chin. “Very excited, Bob.” I lowered my voice to what I thought was a very grown-up, womanly tone. In that moment, the love I felt for my father was a vibrant, sparkling heat. It lifted me out of my fears, carried me above any of the pain I might have had. It made me feel like I could do anything, be anyone. It felt like magic. “Which door would you like to choose?” He gestured toward the front door. “Hmm,” I said, tapping my index finger against the corner of my mouth. “I think I’ll go with door number one, Bob.” “Excellent choice, Miss West. Excellent choice.” He made a two-foot jump over to the door and the chandelier tinkled again. “Eden!” my mother shouted. “Knock! It! Off!” “Sorry, Mother!” I yelled, and winked at my dad, who laughed. “That’s my girl,” he said. He placed his hand on the doorknob and wiggled his thick black eyebrows suggestively. “What could it be? What . . . could . . . it . . . be?” He flung the door wide open. “A brand-new car!” I screamed. Forgetting my mother entirely, I jumped up and down, screaming and clapping my hands, pretending to be excited about an invisible vehicle. My father threw down the spoon and grabbed me. He hugged me tight, lifting me up and twirling me around the room. My legs spun out behind me. He held me so tightly I couldn’t breathe. “Dad, you’re squishing me!” I gasped. I felt my ribs clicking against one another beneath the pressure of his embrace. “David, please!” my mother said as she rushed into the hallway to see what the excitement was all about. She wore a nightgown the same sky blue as her eyes and her thick blond hair was braided down the center of her back. “Put her down! You’re going to break something!” “Never!” said my dad. “She just won a brand-new car, Lydia! We have to celebrate!” “It’s January,” said my mother. She inched around us to shut the front door, her braid swinging like a rope. “Our heating bill is already atrocious.” “Then we’ll live in her car!” my dad proclaimed. “Right, Eden?” “Right!” I gasped again, and he finally set me down. My mother gave me one of her pinched, disapproving looks and I dropped my gaze to the floor, gingerly rubbing my sides and breathing hard. My father sidled up to my mother and grabbed her, spinning her around to kiss her soundly on the lips. “You know you love me, Lydia West,” he said with his face less than an inch from hers. I held my breath, waiting to see how my mother would respond. It was up to her, I thought. She held the power over which direction he’d go, whether or not he’d spin out of control. She could talk him down, touch his face and soothe and distract him like I’d seen her do countless times before. “Let’s go to a museum,” she would say. “Let’s go find a park we’ve never been to before and you can sketch the trees for me.” She could help channel the energy I saw whirling behind my father’s eyes. She could push it onto a path where no one would get hurt. Instead, she stared at him and put her hands on his chest, pushing him away. He stumbled backward, catching himself from falling by throwing his hand against the wall behind him. “Have you been taking your medication?” she asked. Her voice was flat. My insides went cold. I hated it when she asked him that question. Especially when I knew the answer was no. I’d watched him flush the entire contents of his prescription down the toilet a week ago. “Our secret, right, Bug?” he whispered, and I’d nodded. My father’s secrets were a dark and heavy burden in my chest. Sometimes I worried I carried so many of them they might rise up and blossom as a bruise beneath my skin. Then there would be no doubt—I’d be exposed for the liar I was. “Yes, I’ve been taking my medication, Dr. Lydia,” said my father. His smile melted into a sneer. “Would you like me to take a fucking blood test? Or would you just like to have me locked up again?” No, I silently pled. No. Please don’t send him away. A jittery panic rose within me. The last time he’d been at the hospital for a month. Our house was quiet as death. “Don’t swear in front of your daughter,” my mother said quietly. “Breakfast is ready.” “I’m not hungry,” my father said as he grabbed his coat from the rack by the door. “I need to go. I have places to be, people to see. People who appreciate me.” “Daddy—” I started to say. But it was too late. He was already gone. © 2012 Amy Hatvany

Editorial Reviews

“I’m telling everyone about Best Kept Secret. It’s the realistic and ultimately hopeful story of Cadence, whose glass of wine at the end of the day becomes two…then…three…then a bottle. I love that Cadence feels so familiar, she could be my neighbor, my friend, or even my sister.” —Jennifer Weiner, #1 New York Times bestselling author “I was transfixed by Cadence and her heart-wrenching dilemma. The writing is visceral, the problems are real, and there are no clear solutions. You won’t want to put it down.” —Emily Giffin, New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed “Touching, hopeful, and so real…Amy Hatvany writes with depth and compassion about a secret many have kept as she offers the miracle chance of starting over. I loved these characters and this novel.” —Luanne Rice, New York Times bestselling author of The Silver Boat “Rarely do I find a book that stays with me long after I’ve finished it, but this is definitely one. The writing is warm, witty, thoughtful and heartbreaking, and that ending—I’m still thinking about it.” —Stefanie Wilder-Taylor, author of Sippy Cups Are Not for Chardonnay “One of the most compelling books I’ve read in years. This heartfelt, heartbreaking, and ultimately uplifting novel will start an important dialogue about the secrets we keep…and it could even save lives.” —Sarah Pekkanen, author of Skipping a Beat