From Publishers Weekly
Piercing insights into married life and smalltown living distinguish Nicholson's thoughtful if quiet latest. Laura Broad, a married mother of two, has her domestic agenda seriously disrupted when she receives a surprise letter from Nick, her first love who broke her heart when they were young. His proposed visit to Laura's small Sussex town has her pondering a series of "what-ifs" and replaying the course of their passionate but short-lived love affair in largely unnecessary flashbacks. But Laura is not the only one with a secret life of the mind; her neighbors and acquaintances--including her son's teacher, the mother of one of his classmates, a little old lady and her beloved dog, and Laura's own husband--also carry their own hidden agendas and desires. A YA novelist and Academy Award–nominated screenwriter, Nicholson (The Wind Seeker) has a knack for crystallizing his themes in pivotal moments and deserves credit for not clouting the reader over the head with his affirmative message about the viability of two rapidly fading institutions: long-term marriage and English country life.
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"The writing is unobtrusively brilliant. I can't remember enjoying and admiring a new novel more."—Elizabeth Jane Howard, author of Marking Time
"Utterly captures the sense of quiet desperation of ordinary lives . . . and the ways in which life turns on a sixpence."—Kate Mosse, author of Sepulchre
"Hugely funny. . . . But beneath the Wodehousian surface, it is a serious book about men, women and children with complex inner lives trying to find happiness and coping with disappointment."—Daily Telegraph
"We long for characters that move through village life or suburbs like ticking time bombs and threaten to blow the whole charade like a bad movie. Nicholson's Henry and Laura, flirting with suburban danger, fill that need.”—Los Angeles Times
“William Nicholson’s engaging, big-hearted sendup of upscale English country life, The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life
, set in that millennial year, feels utterly contemporary and oddly old-fashioned…This is a smart, sexually frank contemporary novel in which plot turns on letters and on devastating revelations in a quaint county newspaper. Readers may find themselves feeling nostalgic for the 20th century… [a] compulsively readable celebration of community, family ties, and the secret intensities of everyday life.”—Boston Globe
“In this novel Nicholson puts everything plainly on the table: doubts, motivations, desires. You will search in vain for irony or a single smirk. You will find instead a tremendous sincerity. If that comes off as a little old-fashioned, it is also more than a little refreshing.”—St. Petersburg Times
“Nicholson deftly portrays this diverse set of characters, giving each a distinctive voice.... A brighter, more balanced vision of suburban life than is often found in fiction, this will appeal not only to fans of British fare but to any reader who enjoys contemporary fiction focusing on family relationships. Put this in the hands of any fortysomething patron who seems to be negotiating a midlife crisis and needs some gentle food for thought.”—Library Journal
“Nicholson has a knack for crystallizing his themes in pivotal moments and deserves credit for not clouting the reader over the head with his affirmative message about the viability of two rapidly fading instituitions: long-term marriage and English country life.”—Publishers Weekly
“Nicholson interweaves all of these lives and stories in an insightful and entirely believable way, making trenchant observations about life in a small town, life with children and the state of matrimony.”—Shelf Awareness