hummel bookish-LOGO

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Jenn, at Books and a Beat.

My spotlight today is on a recent download I purchased from a favorite author:  Under the Influence, by Joyce Maynard.




Intro:  It was late November,  and for a week solid the rain hadn’t let up.  My son and I had moved out of our old apartment back before school started, but I had left it until now to clear the last of our belongings out of the storage area I’d been renting.  With two days left before the end of the month, I decided not to wait any longer for dry weather.  Worse things could happen to a person than getting a few boxes wet.  As I well knew.

The fact that we had finally left this town was good news.  Not long before, I’d finally paid off the last of my debt to the lawyer who’d represented me in my custody trial more than a dozen years earlier.  Now Oliver and I were living in a bigger apartment closer to my new job in Oakland—a place where my son could finally have a little space, with a little work studio for me, too.  After a long, hard stretch, the future looked hopeful.


Teaser:  “I have these friends,” I had told Elliott the first night we met.  “Wonderful people.  The best friends I ever had.  They sort of took me under their wing.  They’re like my family.” (43%).


Synopsis:  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.


Would you keep reading?  I love this author, so I’m biased.  What do you think?



    1. Oh, I did, Diane, and I loved it too…I have the DVD, and I may just watch it again soon. I also have the DVD of another of her books-into-movies: To Die For, with Nicole Kidman. Thanks for stopping by…and for hosting.


  1. It sounds like a really interesting read; I would definitely keep reading! I hope you’ll enjoy it. 🙂

    Happy reading! Here’s my teaser of Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling.


  2. I’ve heard of Maynard before, and she’s supposed to be great! I don’t read much contemporary fiction, as I prefer fantasy, PNR/UF, and SF. However, from the excerpts and the synopsis, this does sound like a very compelling read! I would sure love to find out how Helen deals with the situation with her newfound friends and Elliott. Seems like there will be some fireworks….

    I’m adding this one to my TBR. Hope you enjoy it, and thanks for sharing!! 🙂


    1. Having loved all books by Maynard in the past, I am definitely looking forward to this one. Since we all have our unique favorites, I hope you enjoy your choices while I love mine! Thanks for stopping by.


  3. Yes, I’d continue, although I do have issues with characters who suffer from alcoholism. It’s tough for me to read about because I’ve had family who had such a hard time because of bad decisions in that regard. It brings back memories and makes me feel angry. I should try this one though and see. 🙂


    1. Thanks for visiting, Kay, and you are right…not everyone can deal with these kinds of issues. I have had family with problems, too, and worked with addicted clients for many years…and like an idiot, I still love reading about it…go figure!


  4. I wasn’t sure about the intro here but the blurb has definitely gotten me thinking I want to read it. I always feel ignorant when it says “best selling” and I’ve not heard of the author.


  5. Kathy

    Oh, yes! You should keep reading for sure. I haven’t read Joyce Maynard, and everyone keeps telling me just how much I’m missing. I love the intro, and the writing; this is definitely one that appeals to me.


Please leave your thoughts. Comments, not awards, feed my soul. Thanks!

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