About Under the Influence
• Paperback: 352 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (November 22, 2016)
The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning—and the true price—of friendship.
Drinking cost Helen her marriage and custody of her seven-year-old son, Ollie. Once an aspiring art photographer, she now makes ends meet taking portraits of school children and working for a caterer. Recovering from her addiction, she spends lonely evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site. Weekend visits with her son are awkward. He’s drifting away from her, fast.
When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to rescuing dogs. Their home is filled with fabulous friends, edgy art, and dazzling parties.
Then Helen meets Elliott, a kind, quiet accountant who offers loyalty and love with none of her newfound friends’ fireworks. To Swift and Ava, he’s boring. But even worse than that, he’s unimpressed by them.
As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands’ influence—running errands, doing random chores, questioning her relationship with Elliott—Ava and Swift hold out the most seductive gift: their influence and help to regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due.
Ollie witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, and the daughter of the Havillands’ housekeeper. With her young son’s future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.
Joyce Maynard is a gifted writer that draws you into her stories by making you have strong feelings, whether good or bad, for the characters. In the case of this book, all the characters are not what they seem. You love Ava and Swift Havilland for the kindness they show Helen, but soon you know that something’s going on under the kindness.
You’ll go through many emotions while reading this book. If you’re like me, just when you think you know what’s going on, something else happens to let you know you’re wrong.
If you like a good thriller and excelent writing, this book should go on your list to read.
Photo by James Barringer
About Joyce Maynard
Joyce Maynard is the author of eight previous novels, including To Die For, Labor Day, The Good Daughters, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into sixteen languages. She lives in California.
Find out more about Joyce at her website, and connect with her on Facebook.