It is 1980, maybe 1981. A spring Saturday afternoon. Every window in the house is open. Bob Seger blares from the stereo in our family room. My parents are cleaning house—mopping the floors, mowing the yard, clearing the cobwebs from the windowsills.
I am six or seven, sitting in an armchair by a window that looks out to the backyard, my legs flopped over one side, Little Women in my lap. I would assume this position—different books, different chairs–thousands of times over the course of my childhood. But this first memory? Little Women.
The book is over my head—it’s the first “big book” I’ve ever opened—but I am desperate to understand it. I’ve just recently visited Orchard House, Louisa May Alcott’s childhood home, which is just ten miles down the road from where we live in Sudbury, Mass, and my mind is blown by the fact that this big, giant book was written essentially down the street, on a “shelf desk” that Louisa May Alcott’s father built for her.
In time, I’ll read and fall deeply in love with the book and it’s characters, particularly Jo, who is brash and bold and writes elaborate plays for her sisters. Once I’m older, I’ll appreciate that the book was perhaps the first to portray young women in such a strong and independent way. It will also become a favorite of mine for the way that it exalts the sacred, almost holy, relationships that women have with each other, whether they’re sisters by blood or by fate.
These types of relationships are exactly what I had in mind when I began writing How Lucky You Are, my novel about three women and their longstanding friendship. I wanted to write an authentic story about women’s friendships—not the shoe shopping, Cosmo sipping froth of it all, but the real stuff: the way that we hide from each other to avoid hurting each other, the nitty-gritty, tear-stained, up-all-night talks that save us, the way that we can love our friends so much that we would truly, and absolutely, do anything for each other.
We’re giving away a copy of Krisyn’s novel HOW LUCKY YOU ARE today. Just leave a comment on this post to be entered.
Waverly, Kate, and Amy are the very best of friends–a tight-knit trio that’s always had Waverly at its center. But suddenly Waverly’s role as the group’s anchor is being tested. The cozy bakery she runs faces financial ruin because of her mounting debt, and her long-term relationship feels stale rather than secure. Independent and headstrong Kate is married to a man who’s on track to be the next governor of Virginia, but larger, unsettling questions are brewing in their future. Stay-at-home mom Amy has a perfect life on paper, but when a horrific secret threatens to reveal itself, she panics.
As life’s pressures begin to tear the three women apart, Waverly knows she has some big decisions to make. Soon she will discover that the lines between loyalty and betrayal can become blurred, happy endings aren’t always clear-cut–and sometimes you have to risk everything to gain the life you deserve.
About Marybeth Whalen
Marybeth Whalen is the co-founder of She Reads, mother of six, and life-long reader. She is also the author of two novels with a third out in July: The Mailbox, She Makes It Look Easy, and The Guest Book.