Friday, September 22, 2023

A Likely Story by Leigh McMullan Abramson

Growing up in the nineties in New York City as the only child of famous parents was both a blessing and a curse for Isabelle Manning. Her beautiful society hostess mother, Claire, and New York Times bestselling author father, Ward, were the city’s intellectual It couple. Ward’s glamorous obligations often took him away from Isabelle, but Claire made sure her childhood was always filled with magic and love.

Now an adult, all Isabelle wants is to be a successful writer like her father but after many false starts and the unexpected death of her mother, she faces her upcoming thirty-fifth birthday alone and on the verge of a breakdown. Her anxiety only skyrockets when she uncovers some shocking truths about her parents and begins wondering if everything she knew about her family was all based on an elaborate lie.

Wry, wise, and propulsive, A Likely Story is punctuated with fragments of a compulsively readable book-within-a-book about a woman determined to steal back the spotlight from a man who has cheated his way to the top. The characters seem eerily familiar but is the plot based on fact? And more importantly, who is the author?

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published March 14, 2023
 by Atria Books
2.5/5 stars

This is the author's debut, released this past March. With a bookish theme and cover it grabbed my attention as soon as I saw it.

I wanted to love the story, mostly because of the cool blurb. However, I struggled connecting with the characters, as well as the slow pacing sent me jumping over to the audiobook for the majority of this read.

Isabelle is mourning the death of her mother, as is her father Ward. Ward is a best-selling author and Isabell wants to follow in his footsteps. Jumping back-and-forth in time the author showed the family dynamics as well as family secrets. There are parts of the story that I enjoyed but other parts I found jarring and disrupted the flow. I found myself binge reading the last quarter to find out what happened and to see what the ending brought. It was a good and fitting conclusion. But I was hoping to love it, others have so could just be a me issue.

This book was part of my 2023 reading off my shelf challenge

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