In the tradition of Kristin Hannah and Karen Joy Fowler, Meg Waite Clayton, bestselling author of The Wednesday Sisters, returns with an enthralling new novel of mothers, daughters, and the secrets and dreams passed down through generations.
It is early evening when Hope Tantry arrives at the small cottage in England’s pastoral Lake District where her mother, Ally, spent the last years of her life. Ally—one of a close-knit group of women who called themselves the Wednesday Sisters—had used the cottage as a writer’s retreat while she worked on her unpublished biography of Beatrix Potter, yet Hope knows little about her mother’s time there. Traveling with Hope are friends Anna Page and Julie, first introduced as little girls in The Wednesday Sisters, now grown women grappling with issues of a different era. They’ve come to help Hope sort through her mother’s personal effects, yet what they find is a tangled family history—one steeped in Lake District lore.
Hope finds a stack of Ally’s old notebooks tucked away in a hidden drawer, all written in a mysterious code. As she, Julie, and Anna Page try to decipher Ally’s writings—the reason for their encryption, their possible connection to the Potter manuscript—they are forced to confront their own personal struggles: Hope’s doubts about her marriage, Julie’s grief over losing her twin sister, Anna Page’s fear of commitment in relationships. And as the real reason for Ally’s stay in England comes to light, Hope, Julie, and Anna Page reach a new understanding about the enduring bonds of family, the unwavering strength of love, and the inescapable pull of the past.
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“The present and the past intertwine beautifully and inevitably in Meg Waite Clayton’s winning follow-up to The Wednesday Sisters. From the beguiling Lake District setting, to a completely charming (and spot-on) portrayal of Beatrix Potter, to the way the Wednesday daughters strive to unpuzzle both their own choices and their mothers’ legacies, every layer of the novel delivers. The Wednesday Daughters is utterly rich and satisfying.”—Paula McLain, New York Times bestselling author of The Paris Wife
“A captivating novel about mothers and daughters, lifelong friendships, love affairs, betrayals, and redemption. Clayton transports us to the English Lake District, an area rich in literary history and romance, where her characters’ secrets unfold in ways both satisfying and surprising.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Commencement, Maine, and The Engagements
“Beautiful storytelling . . . [Meg Waite Clayton] delves deep into the human heart . . . and [will] keep you hanging on until the very last page is turned.”—RT Book Reviews
“The Wednesday Daughters is a bewitching escape of a novel. The characters became my beloved companions. I wanted it never to end.”—Elin Hilderbrand, author of Beautiful Day
“Heartwarming . . . filled with memorable characters.”—Bookreporter
Selected as Recommended Summer Reading by Chicago Tribune • Fort Worth Star-Telegram • San Jose Mercury News
NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of this beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.
“This generous and inventive book is a delight to read, an evocation of the power of friendship to sustain, encourage, and embolden us. Join the sisterhood!”—Karen Joy Fowler, author of The Jane Austen Book Club
For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature—Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.
As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.
Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.