The courage to face the unthinkable is at the core of this magnificent new novel. How do we manage to confront the truths in our lives and find forgiveness in the most unforgiving of circumstances? How do we love truly and deeply in a world that is as brutal as it is beautiful?When Ethan Ford fails to show up for work on a brilliant summer morning, none of his neighbors would guess that for more than thirteen years, he has been running from his past. His true nature has been locked away, as hidden as his real identity. But sometimes locks spring open, and the devastating truths of Ethan Ford's history shatter the small-town peace of Monroe, affecting family and friends alike.This deeply felt and compelling novel makes it clear why Alice Hoffman has been called "one of the best writers we have today" (Cleveland Plain Dealer). Honest, shattering, seductive, and ultimately healing, Blue Diary is an unforgettable novel by a writer who tells "truths powerful enough to break a reader's heart" (Time magazine).Blue Diary is a Booksense 76 Top Ten selection for September/October.
"Hoffman writes from on high, a storytelling goddess who drenches the earth with flower-opening sunshine one day, only to bring on the most abysmal gloom the next. She enchants and she riles, and her powers are extraordinary, although the overture to her fourteenth novel is awfully sweet. Ethan and Jorie, gorgeous and madly in love after 13 years of marriage, are just too horribly perfect. Ethan is a carpenter, baseball coach, and volunteer fireman. Jorie is a homemaker and a gifted gardener, and their 12-year-old son, Collie, is handsome and good. It's enough to make you puke, and that's exactly Hoffman's intention because this is a make-believe life that has run its course. The girl-next-door, the younger, funny-looking one named Kat, not her exquisite and coldhearted sister Rosarie, misses her father, who committed suicide, and has never trusted Collie's, so when she recognizes an old photograph of Ethan shown on a most-wanted TV show, she makes the fateful call and then watches in shock while her neighbors' lives collapse like a house that looks fine from the outside but has been consumed by termites until it's no more than a shell. Nothing will ever be the same for the denizens of Monroe, Massachusetts, after Ethan is arrested for the long-unsolved murder of a 15-year-old Maryland girl. Many rally to his cause; Kat and Collie grow up too fast; Jorie's best friend copes with breast cancer; and Jorie, devastated but lucid, realizes that she must learn the truth whatever the cost. This canny tale of abrupt reversals and courageous, unpopular choices is as suspenseful as it is lyrical and provocative. Donna Seaman"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review:
"Hyperbole is the hallmark of Hoffman's prose. As her 14th novel begins, readers meet Ethan Ford, reliable master carpenter, fire department volunteer and life-saving hero, perfect husband and all-round hunk. In a crescendo of overkill, Hoffman (The River King) identifies Ethan as "truly an extraordinary person." Readers may mutter "enough already," even while recognizing that such a glorious buildup means that Ethan is riding for a fall. But in this case, Hoffman's strategy is effective, because Ethan is suddenly arrested on suspicion of the rape and murder of teenager Rachel Morris 15 years earlier in Maryland. Ethan confesses to the crime, but says that he is now "a different man,'' who has redeemed himself through exemplary behavior. What this revelation means to his beautiful wife of 13 years, Jorie; his 12-year old son, Collie; his friends and admirers in the small community of Monroe, Mass.; and especially to Collie's friend, Kat Williams, who tipped off the police after she saw Ethan's photo on a TV crime blotter, allows the novel to investigate the themes of devotion, betrayal, guilt and forgiveness in trenchantly effective ways. Hoffman avoids the temptation of a feel-good ending, at the same time providing a sensitive assessment of the moral qualities constituting a good life. Throughout, her observations of the natural world are conveyed with gorgeous clarity and the supporting characters are roundly drawn. If the source of Ethan's monumental selfishness is never adequately explained, perhaps this is Hoffman's intention; evil exists, she suggests, and repentance is often not sufficient to earn true absolution. Literary Guild main selection; Doubleday Book Club featured alternate and Mystery Guild alternate; 14-city author tour. (July 23) Forecast: Hoffman's books always lure a large audience, and since this novel, with issues worth pondering, is superior to some of her more whimsical efforts, it should do well right out of the gate. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved