Fowler (The Good Neighborhood) returns with a smooth Austenesque tale of midlife reckoning. Matriarch Marti Geller, faced with terminal cancer, worries about her daughters. “That is what wills are for,” Fowler writes, “to pull the strings you weren’t able to... in life.” The oldest, Beck, a freelance writer, is stuck in a sexless marriage. Claire, a cardiologist, is recently divorced and pining for a man she shouldn’t be. Sophie, an art curator, is Instagram famous, but drowning in debt. Upon Marti’s death, the girls are left with instructions to gather one last time at the family summer home off the coast of Maine before selling it and splitting the proceeds. In chapters from alternating points of view, Fowler skillfully captures each woman’s contemporary narrative and backstory without losing the thread of time and place even as the book hopscotches through flashbacks and locales ranging from Mount Desert Island to Duluth and Dubai. At times she relies on too convenient coincidences to move the plot and the random insertions of an omniscient narrator to explain things, but the well-developed character studies keep the reader chugging along until the satisfying conclusion. Neither too complex nor too light, this goes down as easily as an Aperol spritz. (June)
"Can you say perfect porch read?" —CNN.com
"Fowler has done it again." —GMA.com
"A tightly coiled family saga…Fowler expertly peels back the layers of each character in this page-turner, making for a highly entertaining summer read." —Booklist
"Austenesque...this goes down as easily as an Aperol spritz." —Publishers Weekly
"A smart and lively novel, one that had me turning its pages faster and faster, wondering if this indelible family could really untangle the deep lies that reveal an even deeper truth." —Jess Walter, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Beautiful Ruins
"It All Comes Down to This answered a need I didn’t even know I had—to read a big-hearted novel about middle-aged women reckoning with their own heavy secrets, and each other. This novel is entertaining, in the best sense of the word, and a true page-turner." —Ann Napolitano, New York Times bestselling author of Dear Edward
"Fowler writes like a contemporary Edith Wharton, peeling back layers of class and custom to reveal the mysteries of love, longing, and fate. It All Comes Down to This is a stunning tale of people struggling to wring the most from their lives while facing the uncertainty of what their lives should be." —Wiley Cash, New York Times bestselling author of When Ghosts Come Home
"A compulsively readable, thoroughly enjoyable tale of three sisters, their histories, their problems, and their unraveling secrets. Contemporary, but with a delightfully Austenish tone, I read it in a single gulp." —Karen Joy Fowler, New York Times bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves
"Fowler sure is fond of setting off big surprise-bombs in her novels—revelations that would have most families looking for a rug to sweep everything under. But you haven’t met the Geller sisters. Three women whose chosen way to deal with sibling betrayals, sub-optimal husbands, artistic and financial failure, perverse directives from their mother’s will, and last-gasp chances for love is to plow right through the middle, the hard way. What it comes down to is this: Fowler’s insight into the way we re-open ourselves for love, time and again, speaks stirringly to the heart." —Wilton Barnhardt, New York Times bestselling author of Lookaway, Lookaway
In Honey and Spice, following Babalola's buzzy debut story collection, Love in Color, young Black British woman Kiki Banjo—host of a popular student radio show and known for preaching bad-relationship avoidance—gets tangled in a fake liaison with the very guy she's been citing as big trouble. From Bays, co-creator of the Emmy Award-winning series How I Met Your Mother, 2015 New York-set The Mutual Friend features Alice Quick, mourning her mother, barely managing as a nanny, and trying to make herself sign up for the MCATs even as her tech millionaire brother experiences a religious awakening. In Blush author Brenner's latest, three sisters from a Gilt-edged family in the jewelry business are torn apart following a publicity stunt gone wrong, with one sister dying in a subsequent accident and her daughter struggling to regain traction within the family. In Coleman's Good Morning, Love, aspiring songwriter/musician Carlisa "Carli" Henton's efforts to keep her business and personal lives separate crumble when she meets rising hip-hop star Tau Anderson (50,000-copy first printing). From Egyptian-Irish BBC broadcaster El-Wardany, These Impossible Things features friends Malak, Kees, and Jenna, on the verge of adulthood as they struggle to be good Muslim women yet wanting to follow their dreams (50,000-copy first printing). In Fowler's It All Comes Down To This, three sisters—freelance journalist Beck, struggling with her marriage and a desire to write fiction; Claire, an accomplished pediatric cardiologist, recently divorced; and Sophie, leading a glamorous life she can't afford—face their mother's impending death and the fate of their beloved summer cottage on Mount Desert Island, ME. In Ho's Lucie Yi Is Not a Romantic, a follow-up to the LJ-starred Last Tang Standing, a hardworking career woman gives up on finding the right guy after her fiancé calls off their marriage and signs up for an elective co-parenting website so that she can have a baby—with unexpected consequences. In USA Today best-selling Moore's latest, Maine is not exactly Vacationland for Louisa when she visits her parents one summer with her three children, as she's dealing with an unfinished book, an absentee husband, and a father suffering from Alzheimer's, plus a young stranger in town trying to get her own life in order (100,000-copy first printing). In popular Patrick's The Messy Life of Book People, Liv Green forms a tentative friendship with the mega-best-selling author for whom she works as a housecleaner but is surprised when the author dies suddenly and in her will asks that Liv complete her final book (75,000 paperback and 10,000-copy paperback first printing). In Saint X author Schaitkin's Elsewhere, an interesting departure, Vera grows up in a small town where for generations women keep vanishing mysteriously (200,000-copy first printing). Vercher follows the Edgar-nominated, best-booked Three-Fifths with After the Lights Go Out, about a biracial MMA fighter aging out of his career and facing his father's end-stage Alzheimer's when he scores a last-minute comeback fight. Already a multi-award winner, Wolfe debuts with Last Summer on State Street, about Felicia "Fe Fe" Stevens and two close-as-hugging friends—a happy threesome that expands to an uneasy foursome even as the Chicago Housing Authority prepares to tear down the high-rise in the projects where Fe Fe's family lives (50,000-copy first printing).
Love, lies, and long-buried secrets surface as a favored family summer home in Maine is put up for sale.
The title is something of a giveaway in Fowler’s latest, a story of problems endured over many years, sometimes at significant personal cost, but, once aired and shared, reaching self-evident solutions. Sisters Beck, Claire, and Sophie Geller, with their contrasting careers and lifestyles, must come together after the loss of their mother, Marti, whose will requires them to sell the beloved summer cottage they have inherited, a remote house on Mount Desert Island. Sophie, who works in Manhattan’s art world but whose life has suddenly upended, needs the money the sale would bring. Claire, a doctor whose marriage has failed, could use the cash, too, but welcomes the distraction from unrequited love that the house brings. Beck, a journalist married to book editor Paul, wants to keep the house as a place in which to write the novel she’s longed to complete. Doing so would also liberate her from her kind but sexless marriage. Paul, meanwhile, has a secret—he yearns for Claire, and Claire (unbeknownst to Paul) yearns back. Marti kept secrets, too, and Beck has lied to Paul, both for financial and sexual reasons. She’s recently spent an amazing night with C.J. Reynolds, a figure from her past who has his own problematic backstory. Backstories indeed fill many pages in this exposition-heavy, distinctly soapy story, which devotes most of its attention to elaborating the problems set up to be unraveled. Fowler presents the family members in great detail; less so in the case of the perfunctory C.J., though he too will reach a happy resolution. So, this is what it all comes down to—a tying up of much-dangled loose ends.
Romantic and other dilemmas reach flagged-up conclusions in a novel whose destination is gratification.