The Underside Of Joy

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The Underside Of Joy

by S Halverson

DUTTON ADULT | March 12, 2013 | Hardcover

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Set against the backdrop of Redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Seré Prince Halverson's compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.

To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. Yet one summer day Joe breaks his own rule-never turn your back on the ocean-and a sleeper wave strikes him down, drowning not only the man but his many secrets.

For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known and has believed that their biological mother, Paige, abandoned them. But when Paige shows up at the funeral, intent on reclaiming the children, Ella soon realizes there may be more to Paige and Joe's story. "Ella's the best thing that's happened to this family," say her close-knit Italian-American in-laws, for generations the proprietors of a local market. But their devotion quickly falters when the custody fight between mother and stepmother urgently and powerfully collides with Ella's quest for truth.

The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of stepmotherhood pitting good Ella against evil Paige, but an exploration of the complex relationship of two mothers. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars-both physical and emotional-to the families' deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during World War II and postpartum psychosis.

Weaving a rich fictional tapestry abundantly alive with the glorious natural beauty of the novel's setting, Halverson is a captivating guide through the flora and fauna of human emotion-grief and anger, shame and forgiveness, happiness and its shadow complement . . . the underside of joy.

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.28 × 6.28 × 1.13 in

Published: March 12, 2013

Publisher: DUTTON ADULT

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0525952594

ISBN - 13: 9780525952596

Found in: Fiction and Literature

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– More About This Product –

The Underside Of Joy

The Underside Of Joy

by S Halverson

Format: Hardcover

Dimensions: 320 pages, 9.28 × 6.28 × 1.13 in

Published: March 12, 2013

Publisher: DUTTON ADULT

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0525952594

ISBN - 13: 9780525952596

About the Book

Set against the backdrop of redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Halverson's compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.

From the Publisher

Set against the backdrop of Redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Seré Prince Halverson's compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.

To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. Yet one summer day Joe breaks his own rule-never turn your back on the ocean-and a sleeper wave strikes him down, drowning not only the man but his many secrets.

For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known and has believed that their biological mother, Paige, abandoned them. But when Paige shows up at the funeral, intent on reclaiming the children, Ella soon realizes there may be more to Paige and Joe's story. "Ella's the best thing that's happened to this family," say her close-knit Italian-American in-laws, for generations the proprietors of a local market. But their devotion quickly falters when the custody fight between mother and stepmother urgently and powerfully collides with Ella's quest for truth.

The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of stepmotherhood pitting good Ella against evil Paige, but an exploration of the complex relationship of two mothers. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars-both physical and emotional-to the families' deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during World War II and postpartum psychosis.

Weaving a rich fictional tapestry abundantly alive with the glorious natural beauty of the novel's setting, Halverson is a captivating guide through the flora and fauna of human emotion-grief and anger, shame and forgiveness, happiness and its shadow complement . . . the underside of joy.

About the Author

SERÉ PRINCE HALVERSON lives in northern California and worked as a freelance copywriter for twenty years while she wrote fiction. She and her husband have four grown children. She is a mom and a stepmom, and grew up with a mom and a stepmom. This is her debut novel.

Editorial Reviews

"The Underside of Joy covers the transforming experiences of most of our lives — marriage, parenthood and death — with maturity, understanding and grace. Anyone who has known love, loss, regret and forgiveness can identify with Ella and her transformation, and with subplots about sibling rivalry, the local food movement and the persecution of Italian immigrants during World War II, the book offers a lot to think about. I suspect it will be a book club favorite." -Associated Press“[An] exquisite debut… moving and hopeful.” — People Style Watch“Halverson’s debut novel marks her as a strong new voice in women’s fiction…this would make an excellent book-club choice.” — Booklist“Halverson paints a lovely picture of smalltown life and intimate family drama…Nuanced characters and lack of cliché make for a winning debut.” — Publishers Weekly“Halverson avoids sentimentality, aiming for higher ground in this lucid and graceful examination of the dangers and blessings of familial bonds.” -Kirkus Reviews"Seré Prince Halverson's debut novel is a faultless exploration of sadness and shame, anger and forgiveness; a story well told about people we would like to know." -Shelf Awareness"The writing in The Underside of Joy is as purely beautiful as the story is emotionally complex. When Ella Beene is wrenched from a state of unexamined happiness into confusion and grief, she finds that her only hope of emerging whole is to face searing and long-buried truths. Ella embarks on a difficult j
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