heatwaveSophisticated, intelligent, impossible to put down, Maggie O’Farrell’s beguiling novels—After You’d Gone, winner of a Betty Trask Award; The Distance Between Us, winner of a Somerset Maugham Award; The Hand That First Held Mine, winner of the Costa Novel Award; and her unforgettable bestseller The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox—blend richly textured psychological drama with page-turning suspense. Instructions for a Heatwave finds her at the top of her game, with a novel about a family crisis set during the legendary British heatwave of 1976.

We’d like to give you the chance start your weekend off with a preview of her smart and riveting new novel: Instructions for a Heatwave excerpt.

Gretta Riordan wakes on a stultifying July morning to find that her husband of forty years has gone to get the paper and vanished, cleaning out his bank account along the way. Gretta’s three grown children converge on their parents’ home for the first time in years: Michael Francis, a history teacher whose marriage is failing; Monica, with two stepdaughters who despise her and a blighted past that has driven away the younger sister she once adored; and Aoife, the youngest, now living in Manhattan, a smart, immensely resourceful young woman who has arranged her entire life to conceal a devastating secret.

Maggie O’Farrell writes with exceptional grace and sensitivity about marriage, about the mysteries that inhere within families, and the fault lines over which we build our lives—the secrets we hide from the people who know and love us best. In a novel that stretches from the heart of London to New York City’s Upper West Side to a remote village on the coast of Ireland, O’Farrell paints a bracing portrait of a family falling apart and coming together with hard-won, life-changing truths about who they really are. 

Praise for Instructions for a Heatwave:

“O’Farrell should be a household name.”—Library Journal

“Superlative…A reunion of far-flung siblings for a Mike Leigh-style extravaganza of reckonings and reconciliations.”—Vogue

“An Irish family saga, replete with secrets, rivalries, and misbehavior becomes a compelling and entertaining story in Maggie O’Farrell’s hands…O’Farrell takes readers on journeys interior and exterior-recounted in flawless prose that will have you reading while strap-hanging, standing in line, or waiting at a stop light.”—Shelf Awareness

“A beautiful portrait of family life. The story really blossoms in the second half…where the family’s secrets and private feuds come raging forth so that the true healing can begin.” —Booklist

Keep up-to-date with Maggie O’Farrell and read Maggie’s latest notes on her official Facebook fan page.

Friday Reads: Instructions for a Heatwave by Maggie O'Farrell

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