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The Daylight Marriage Hardcover – May 5, 2015
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Selected as a Best Beach Read by Coastal Living magazine, Family Circle, The Advocate, and Health magazine
“Likely to linger in the reader’s mind . . . a perfect microscope with which to examine the inexhaustible fascinations of marriage, and as Pitlor flashes between the day of Hannah’s disappearance and Lovell’s uneasy consideration of their past resentments, she finds a nice voice -- thoughtful, lyrical, unforced." —New York Times Book Review
“Despite the acrid marriage, the his-and-hers narration, and the fact that Lovell quickly emerges as the primary suspect, this isn’t really another Gone Girl. It’s more an exploration of the way that the tiniest and most impetuous of decisions can suddenly recast a person’s life.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Hypnotically readable--I absolutely couldn't put it down. The structure is brilliant, and I turned the pages with increasing dread. This book is terrific.” —Stephen King
“Beyond the novel’s taut suspense and subtle characterization, Pitlor’s vivid prose provides an additional pleasure . . . The novel’s suspense lasts right until its shocking climax, but the ‘messy, wonderful, excruciating lives’ of its characters linger in the mind long after the last page.” —The Boston Globe
“Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will delight in this familiar tale . . . The mystery will keep you on the edge of your beach chair, but the real attraction to this book is the author’s beautiful portrayal of a marriage in peril, of two people whose lives have become heartbreakingly ordinary, and how it forever altered their personalities.” —Coastal Living
“This Stephen King-approved ‘hypnotically readable’ novel involves a wife who’s vanished and a husband who’s trying to understand what’s happened, but it’s not just another Gone Girl.”—Health Magazine
“Riveting and distinctive.” —BBC
“The strength of The Daylight Marriage lies in its structure, coupled with a clear, piercing cadence in each sentence.” —Los Angeles Review of Books
"This spellbinding novel of suspense from the author of The Birthdays is told with great sympathy, as tension builds toward an inexorable conclusion. It can also be read as a cautionary tale both about a failed marriage and about how one impulsive decision can lead to a very dark place.” —Library Journal
“Pitlor brings forth the emotions that surge beneath the surface with the precision and power of a conductor . . . This powerful analysis of how dreams become nightmares will make readers want to hold their loved ones close.” —Booklist, starred review
About the Author
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My first quibble, as others have stated, is the prominent blurb from Stephen King, master of horror. If HE says "and I turned the pages with increasing dread," we expect something spectacularly bizarre to happen. It doesn't.
Secondly, the character of Hannah is not fully developed. We don't know enough about her, or there simply isn't enough TO her, to make us care whether she vanishes or not. The plot ends up being much simpler than I'd imagined. A let down.
The book actually focuses on the clueless husband, and he is a well-drawn character, although painting him as a buffoon at the beginning becomes a little tiresome. By the end, though, his character has changed, and that is what makes the book an interesting read. The obnoxious teenage girl is believably obnoxious. But, overall, I expected more complexity to the plot.
Lovell Hall is a climate scientist, a nerd we can say. His mother, a brilliant MIT scientist, he comes from great intelligence and maybe not much emotion or feeling. He meets Hannah one day and is Immediately attracted. She had just broken an engagement with a man she was madly in love with. Lovell is around and picks up the pieces. He is different, calmer, more gentle and they fall in love and marry. They have two children, and as the years move on Lovell is very happy in his rewarding work. Hannah has no real profession, a mother and a part time florist, but not outside work that gives her a feeling of fulfillment. This grates, and she is probably depressed. She and Lovell rarely talk, rarely make love, they eat dinner and breakfast with their children, and go off and do their thing.
One night Lovell is angry because he finds their third electric bill, a warning. Hannah is in charge of the bills and what else does she have to do that she can't pay the bills? Lovell asks her that in pointed words, and an argument occurs, loud words, Lovell is so angry that he could have hit her, but he stops. Hannah goes and sleeps in her son's bedroom. The next day, Hannah goes missing.
In alternating chapters we learn about Lovell and Hannah, their past lives, how they met, their marriage and the argument. Hannah tells her side, and we hear what she did the day she went missing. Lovell tells us of his life after Hannah goes. Telling the children, reporting to the police, talking with them and family. Dealing with the news media when they show up at his door. Living the day to day life trying to find his children's lives, coping with their emotions and his own. Quite a book, realizing that what is not said Is sometimes as devastating and more important than what is actually said.
The author, Heidi Pitlor, lives outside of Boston, where this novel takes place. Cambridge, Boston, Southie, the beaches, all familiar. The streets and neighbors of the town they live in are well described. The writing has an edge, this is not as much a mystery as a story of a marriage and the decisions you make. A family trying to find it's way, and the stories they all have to tell.
Recommended. prisrob 05-09-15
Sixteen years later, they are no closer together, and, in fact, they are living parallel lives. Communication is scanty. Their two children, Janine, 15, and Ethan, 8, are the glue that hold them together…along with their memories of happier times.
One devastating night changes everything. They argue, they fight, but they stop short of physical violence. Just smashed glass and harsh words. But enough to change the course of their world.
The next day, Hannah goes missing, and it would be many months before answers come about what happened to her.
Lovell and Hannah are alternating narrators, and her voice comes to us at carefully timed intervals, revealing what happened that day, leading us through each moment.
Meanwhile, the family left behind is falling apart, with Janine acting out with curses, a shaved head, and total defiance. Even as I could understand her feelings, I found most of her behavior appalling. She was a hard character to tolerate.
Lovell had his own struggles holding it together, and often lashed out as well.
The Daylight Marriage was a portrayal of how a marriage can unravel slowly, and then devastatingly crumble in just a few moments. The characters felt like real people struggling to make the most of their differences, but failing miserably. A tense and engaging story that was unforgettable. 5 stars.