Under The Influence: A Novel by Joyce MaynardUnder The Influence: A Novel by Joyce Maynard

Under The Influence: A Novel

byJoyce Maynard

Hardcover | September 15, 2017

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The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship.

Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.

When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.

Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.

As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.

Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.

Joyce Maynard is the author of seven previous novels, includingTo Die For,Labor Day, andThe Good Daughters, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir,At Home in the World, has been translated into sixteen languages. Maynard's bestselling novelLabor Daywas adapted for film by Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman and...
Title:Under The Influence: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.09 inPublished:September 15, 2017Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062257641

ISBN - 13:9780062257642

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Rated 3 out of 5 by from Ok Helen is a recovering alcoholic, having lost custody of her son after he suffered from appendicitis and needed to be taken to the hospital, which Helen did while she was drunk. She only gets to see her son for a few hours on the weekend, and given that she's not a very sociable person Helen doesn't have much of a life outside of those hours until she meets Ava and Swift Havilland. The two are wealthy entrepreneurs and take an interest in Helen and her son. The Havilland's welcome Helen in to their life, and put her to work asking for her help. Eventually, they get Helen set up on a dating site and it seems like they're mostly just interested in the entertaining stories rather than trying to find Helen someone she will like. Helen does find someone, a boring accountant, but a man who is incredibly kind and caring. The Havilland's don't take well to him and Helen begins to question her choice while Elliot is questioning Helen's choice of friends. Eventually these relationships come to a head, with an accident where Helen's son is involved. This book has a feeling of dread attached to it through the entire reading. You know something bad is going to happen and you're really just waiting for the shoe to drop. This made for a compelling read for me, wondering what was going to happen. It's a good thing that by the time I got the book, I had forgotten the description of the book though because the book description pretty much tells you the story of the entire novel. There's a weird element to this book where Ava and Swift continuously make suggestive remarks to each other around others. It doesn't really add much to the book, aside from making me dislike the two characters after they've done it so many times it gets old. I'm not sure what the point was for this to be in the novel, as it was completely fake. For the ending, the climax of the book was interesting but felt crammed in to the last little bit of the book. There were also a lot of unanswered questions for me. If the pacing of this book was a bit better, I think I would have enjoyed it more.
Date published: 2016-12-19

Editorial Reviews

“It’s a story about the pull of consuming friendships, of seeking to escape into the lives of others, of possession and illusion — and you will not be able to put it down until Maynard herself releases you. Utterly captivating.”