Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family's American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault—the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children. The truth lies with six women: an exploration of identity, class, and caregiving.
Despite the high-concept premise, Bestor-Siegal’s debut is not about the hunt for a killer or Alena’s culpability. It’s lyrically written and contemplative, pulling the reader into a complex web of vivid characters. Bestor-Siegal brings an authentic perspective from her own experiences living in France. A perfect book-group title, especially for Francophiles.
Introspective ... While it takes a while to understand how each story and character connects to Julien’s murder due to the slow progression of the plot, Bestor-Siegal excels at character development. Once the author gets going, she cracks open an intriguing world.
A well-paced narrative that moves through time and multiple perspectives with deft precision, this is a heart-wrenching exploration of who counts as family and how dangerous it can be to let someone in ... A novel about the 'people who aren’t completely part of the family' and the true cost of belonging.