Emily writes for women's catalogs for a living, but she'd rather be writing books. She has a handsome photographer boyfriend, but she actively wonders how and when they will eventually hurt each other. Her best work friend Megan is her lifeline, until Megan is abruptly laid off. When her world is further upended by an unplanned pregnancy, Emily is forced to make tough decisions that will change her life forever. What will she sacrifice from her old life to make room for a new one? What fires will she be forced to extinguish, and which will keep burning? Old Flame is a story about the essential--and often existential--choices that define a woman's life at every level, from which dress to wear to when to have a child to how to be in the world.
Though sprinkled with references to poetry and the vagaries of capitalism, this [first] portion of the novel feels as if it may be headed into rom-com territory...But Prentiss has something less predictable in mind. We soon embark on a quest narrative where Emily’s desire for the maternal love she never felt, even with a devoted adoptive mother, is bottomless ... Old Flame is that rare novel whose author—as well as her protagonist—gains wisdom and authority as the story unfolds, never failing to remind us that while loss and grief are inescapable, joy and fulfillment are possible.
Confident, bittersweet ... The novel is unapologetic about this familiar premise; in fact, the novel highlights its familiarity in order to unpack it, often with acerbic humor ... As much as this work is about friendships, relationships and motherhood, it is also a book about writing: the dizzying joy Emily feels when she writes, and her fear of insufficiency.
Prentiss offers a sensitive story, gorgeously detailed and painfully realistic, about the lives and ordeals of women and artists, and what it means to seek and shape connection in the modern world. Filled with both snark and wisdom, this novel is a gift of love and forgiveness