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The underside of joy

by Halverson, Seré Prince.

Format: Print Book 2012
Availability: Available at 13 Libraries 13 of 13 copies
Available (13)
Location Collection Call #
ACLA Mobile Library Services Fiction Collection F HALV
Location  ACLA Mobile Library Services
Collection  Fiction Collection
Call Number  F HALV
Bethel Park Public Library Fiction FIC HALVERSON Sere
Location  Bethel Park Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC HALVERSON Sere
CLP - Main Library First Floor - Fiction Stacks FICTION Halverson
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  First Floor - Fiction Stacks
Call Number  FICTION Halverson
Cooper-Siegel Community Library Fiction FIC HAL
Location  Cooper-Siegel Community Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC HAL
Monroeville Public Library Fiction HALVERSON Sere
Location  Monroeville Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  HALVERSON Sere
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Fiction HALVERSON Sere Prince
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  HALVERSON Sere Prince
Northern Tier Regional Library Fiction FIC HALVE
Location  Northern Tier Regional Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  FIC HALVE
Northland Public Library Fiction FIC HALVERSON
Location  Northland Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Penn Hills Library Fiction HAL
Location  Penn Hills Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  HAL
Pleasant Hills Public Library Adult Fiction Fic Halverson
Location  Pleasant Hills Public Library
Collection  Adult Fiction
Call Number  Fic Halverson
Robinson Library Fiction FIC HALVERSO
Location  Robinson Library
Collection  Fiction
Sewickley Public Library Fiction F HAL
Location  Sewickley Public Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  F HAL
Shaler North Hills Library Fiction HALVERSON
Location  Shaler North Hills Library
Collection  Fiction
Call Number  HALVERSON
Set against the backdrop of Redwood forests and shimmering vineyards, Seré Prince Halverson's compelling debut tells the story of two women, bound by an unspeakable loss, who each claims to be the mother of the same two children.

To Ella Beene, happiness means living in the northern California river town of Elbow with her husband, Joe, and his two young children. Yet one summer day Joe breaks his own rule- never turn your back on the ocean -and a sleeper wave strikes him down, drowning not only the man but his many secrets.

For three years, Ella has been the only mother the kids have known and has believed that their biological mother, Paige, abandoned them. But when Paige shows up at the funeral, intent on reclaiming the children, Ella soon realizes there may be more to Paige and Joe's story. "Ella's the best thing that's happened to this family," say her close-knit Italian-American in-laws, for generations the proprietors of a local market. But their devotion quickly falters when the custody fight between mother and stepmother urgently and powerfully collides with Ella's quest for truth.

The Underside of Joy is not a fairy-tale version of stepmotherhood pitting good Ella against evil Paige, but an exploration of the complex relationship of two mothers. Their conflict uncovers a map of scars-both physical and emotional-to the families' deeply buried tragedies, including Italian internment camps during World War II and postpartum psychosis.

Weaving a rich fictional tapestry abundantly alive with the glorious natural beauty of the novel's setting, Halverson is a captivating guide through the flora and fauna of human emotion-grief and anger, shame and forgiveness, happiness and its shadow complement . . . the underside of joy.

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Halverson's debut novel marks her as a strong new voice in women's fiction. Three years after the death of her husband, young widow Ella Beene looks back at the joy of her early married life with the recognition that the most genuine happiness cannot be so pure, so deep, or so blind. What she has failed to see is that Joe might not have been completely honest about what went wrong with his first marriage. As the loving stepmother to his two children, Ella suddenly finds herself vulnerable to a custody suit from their mother, Paige. In addition, the Italian grocery business that Joe's family has run for decades in the quaint town of Elbow, California, is about to go under, and Ella must find a way to make a living. Halverson tells a complex story in agile prose, but her tale is awash in a full-throated emotionalism that aligns her more with Elizabeth Berg than the more nuanced Anita Shreve. Because of its focus on the meaning of family, this would make an excellent book-club choice.--Wilkinson, Joanne Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Fleeing a failed marriage, Ella Beene arrives in Elbow, Calif., where she meets Joe and his two children, abandoned four months ago by Paige, who suffered from postpartum depression. After a quick marriage, Ella's new life turns upside down after only three years when Joe drowns, leaving her a business deeply in debt and an ex-wife back in town intent on regaining custody of the children that Ella has come to love. A difficult custody battle results in Paige taking her children to Las Vegas. Ella follows, to be closer to the children, and the two women sustain a heated conflict until a terrible accident involving Zach, the youngest, makes them realize that they each care for these children deeply. Halverson paints a lovely picture of smalltown life and intimate family drama, creating sympathy for Ella, which is easy, but also for Paige, whose own troubled past complicates a figure that would ordinarily be demonized. Nuanced characters and a lack of cliche make for a winning debut. Agent: Weed Literary. (Jan.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Single mothers -- Fiction.
Divorced women -- Fiction.
Stepchildren -- Fiction.
Family secrets -- Fiction.
California, Northern -- Fiction.
Domestic fiction.
Publisher New York :Dutton,2012
Language English
Description 307 pages ; 25 cm
ISBN 9780525952596 (alk. paper)
0525952594 (alk. paper)
Other Classic View