From Publishers Weekly
"It's not hard to identify my emotions. What's hard is filling in the gaps of a forty-six-year love affair," confesses Brady (A Yankee Christmas series) in her account of life with longtime Atlantic Monthly Press editor-in-chief Upton Birnie Brady. In 1956, 17-year-old Ryder met Upton when he cut in on a dance at the annual Boston Cotillion. Feeling an immediate rapport with the dashing Harvard student ("our bodies fit, leg to leg, pelvis to pelvis"), she harbors hopes of meeting him again. They do, and in 1962, they marry. Soon after, Brady experiences Upton's spiraling anger and depression, and begins scavenging for insights into Upton's character (through Evelyn Waugh's Brideshead Revisited) and proof (e.g., a cassette of Everly Brothers songs). The shock of finding gay pornography in Upton's bedside table drawer, yields unexpected gifts along with pain. Readers will be captivated by Upton's ability to resuscitate a fading antique carpet with crayons; make elegant clothing for his wife (with whom he had four children); plan and execute formal dinner parties; and dance a hypnotic merengue. Diagnosed by his therapist with narcissistic personality disorder, Upton, in Brady's view, is both superhero and deeply flawed man; her memoir is as searing and tender as the life she describes. (Feb.)
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Brady joins the ranks of forthcoming women writers sharing their stories of marriage and widowhood, although her tale has a heartrending added dimension. Brady’s calm, measured memoir alternates between the aftermath of her husband Upton’s sudden death in 2008 and vivid flashbacks that take on new significance as Brady grapples with unnerving discoveries, from hidden gay porn to financial chaos. A Boston debutante in 1956, Brady met Upton, a handsome Harvard sophomore and a devout Catholic, at a cotillion. After assorted romantic and familial complications, they married and quickly had four children. Brady adored her smart, dapper, multitalented husband, who danced like a star, sewed beautifully, could fix anything, and became editor in chief for Atlantic Monthly Press. But Upton drank heavily and was often enraged and unreachable. Brady saw her husband through years of crises and therapy, only to be forced to question every aspect of her life after his death. Brady’s engrossing chronicle of how she faced both the facts and mysteries of her husband’s concealed homosexuality offers generous and enlightening testimony to the true meaning of love. --Donna Seaman