The History of Us
A novel by Leah Stewart.
“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.” –Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A poignant exploration of the meaning of family…the life they’ve lived was as much a gift as the life they lost.” –Booklist
“Domestic fiction fans favoring strong, intelligent characters will be intrigued by Stewart’s introspective examination of a family.” –Library Journal
Sometimes home is the hardest place to go.
In the newest novel by the celebrated author of The Myth of You and Me, three grown siblings return to their childhood home and face a family secret that forces them to reexamine their relationships.
Eloise Hempel is on her way to teach a class at Harvard when she receives a devastating phone call. Her sister and her husband have been killed in a tragic accident, and Eloise must return home to Cincinnati to take their three children out of the hands of her own incapable mother. She and her children move back into her mother’s century-old house and, after her mother leaves, pours her own money into its upkeep.
Nearly two decades later, Eloise is still in that house with now-grown children, still thinking about the career and life she left behind, even as she pushes the kids to get a move on. With a child leaving for New York City for a promising ballet career, Eloise has plans to finally sell the house and start a life that’s hers alone. But when her mother creates a competition for which of them gets the house and Claire turns out to have a life-changing secret, their makeshift family begins to fall apart.
The History of Us is a heartrending story of loss, sibling relationships, and the life you make in the path not taken.
Leah Stewart is the author of the novels Husband and Wife, The Myth of You and Me, and Body of a Girl. The recipient of an 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.