The History of Us (Paperback)

A Novel

By Leah Stewart

Touchstone, 9781451672633, 400pp.

Publication Date: August 6, 2013

Other Editions of This Title:
Compact Disc (1/8/2013)
Hardcover (1/8/2013)
Hardcover, Large Print (4/5/2013)
Other (1/1/2013)
MP3 CD (1/8/2013)

List Price: 15.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.

Description

From the critically acclaimed author of The Myth of You and Me, The History of Us is a heartrending story of love, loss, family, and the life you make in the path not taken.

Sometimes home is the hardest place to go

Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach her first class at Harvard when she receives the devastating news that her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident. Eloise leaves her life in Cambridge and moves back into her family’s century-old house in Cincinnati, pouring her own money into the house’s upkeep and her heart into raising her sister’s three children, Theodora, Josh, and Claire.

Nearly twenty years later, the now-grown children seem ready to leave home, and Eloise plans to sell the house and finally start a life that’s hers alone. But when Eloise’s mother decides that they should all compete for the chance to keep the house and Claire reveals a life-changing secret, the makeshift family begins to fall apart and ultimately must decide what in life is worth fighting for.


About the Author

Leah Stewart is the critically acclaimed author of The History of Us, Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, and Body of a Girl. The recipient of a Sachs Fund Prize and a NEA Literature Fellowship, she teaches in the creative writing program at the University of Cincinnati and lives in Cincinnati with her husband and two children. Visit her online at LeahStewart.com.


Praise For The History of Us: A Novel

“A sprawling novel with some of the off-kilter charm of Anne Tyler’s work, The History of Us glows with affection for its wounded, familiar characters.”

“Touching drama . . . Faced with urgent choices, Eloise and the grown kids react with varying degrees of wisdom and pigheadedness, but as Stewart tenderly demonstrates, they remain – for better or worse – a family.”

“Stewart’s novel reminds us how family ties trump all else.”

"Charming. . . Stewart weaves a smart, redemptive tale of maturation."

“Domestic fiction fans favoring strong, intelligent characters will be intrigued by Stewart’s introspective examination of a family.”

“Stewart is a wonderful observer of family relationships, and she adroitly weaves the stories of Eloise and the children she’s raised—their work, their loves, their disappointments and dreams—while focusing on what ties families together, and what ultimately keeps those ties from breaking.”

"With a playwright’s precise, sometimes excoriating dialogue and an insightful novelist’s judicious use of interior monologue, Stewart crafts a tearful yet unsentimental family coming-of-age story."

“A poignant exploration of the meaning of family…the life they’ve lived was as much a gift as the life they lost.”

“Stewart’s novel is an intimate exploration of a family in crisis and the different ways in which people cope with grief.”

"The History of Us stays the course and shows how a family negotiates through a particular crisis. Leah Stewart seems to love her characters even when they are not especially lovable, and gives them space and time enough to grow and change."

“Stewart portrays the yearning and conflict of very recognizable people. . . . [She] makes the reader care about these good people — and applaud as each finally dares to break out of familial inertia, to act instead of yearn. . . . Like her mentors Eliot and Austen, Stewart explores the delicate dilemmas of family life: balancing loyalty and self-interest, giving and receiving joy and sorrow, achieving togetherness and separateness.”

“Leah Stewart possesses magic. It is awe-inspiring to see how clearly and sensitively she presents the numerous ways her characters are broken and then finds a way to offer some hope of healing. With the family at the heart of The History of Us, Stewart shows that she is unafraid of difficult characters and that she is equally unafraid of making sure they matter to us.”
— Kevin Wilson, author of The Family Fang

"Tender and compelling, The History of Us explores how we define our family and who, ultimately, we are both with and without them. These characters and their stories stuck with me long after the final page, and Leah Stewart proves once again that she is a master of understanding the complexity of human nature."
— Allison Winn Scotch, author of The Song Remains the Same and Time of My Life

"Leah Stewart plunges deep into questions of home and heart. The History of Us is a lovely novel. Just lovely.”
— Ann Hood, author of The Red Thread and The Knitting Circle

"This narrative voice is so alive. . . . I cherish this wry, funny, aching, intelligent character and this book!”
— Marisa de los Santos, author of Falling Together

“A genuine and heartwarming story about the complicated thing we call family, and what it means to be home. I laughed. I cried. And I was very sorry to turn the last page.”
— Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters

"A deeply human book: funny, tender, smart, self-aware."
— Elin Hilderbrand, author of Silver Girl