By Cathi Hanauer

(Atria, $24.99, 368 pages)

Who is this author?

Cathi Hanauer, who lives in western Massachusetts, “gets” women. She edited the lively, provocative bestselling essay anthology, “The Bitch in the House: 26 Women Tell the Truth About Sex, Solitude, Work, Motherhood, and Marriage,” wrote the novels “My Sister’s Bones” and “Sweet Ruin” and has contributed many articles, essays, and pieces of criticism to such major publications as The New York Times, Elle, O, Glamour, Self, Parenting and Whole Living.

What is this book about?

O Magazine sums the story up best: “Beautifully complicated and often funny, Cathi Hanauer’s “Gone” asks the question many long-marrieds barely dare to contemplate: What would you do if your husband left to drive the babysitter home and just never came back?”

That’s the situation Eve, who is gaining success as a nutritionist, finds herself in when, after a restaurant dinner with her husband of 14 years whose career has stalled, he just takes off, leaving her to cope with their two kids, work, middle-age life and the host of related problems, not to mention the emotional smackdown that being abandoned has delivered.

Why you’ll like it:

Summer’s nearly over, but a good beach book can be read any time of year. This is one is far better than the stereotypical beach-y fluff, yet contains the elements that make such books so appealing: it’s about love, marriage, raising children, succeeding at work and finding oneself at an age when such exploration is thought to be long past. What would you do if your spouse just took off one night: mourn, rejoice, go numb, get going? Eve’s story will have you pondering this frightening, yet possibly liberating, turn of events.

What others are saying:

“Gone is an outstanding novel about change and about redefining, in middle age, everything from one’s marriage to one’s career to one’s role as a best friend, parent, and spouse. It is a novel about passion and forgiveness and knowing when to let something go and when to fight to hold on to it, about learning to say goodbye—but, if you’re lucky, not forever, says a Barnes and Noble review.

“Cathi Hanauer is a great chronicler of modern love and life, who has created, in the pages of “Gone,” the beautiful, intricate story of a beautiful, intricate marriage. This novel will resonate with anyone who has ever been married—which is to say, it will resonate with anyone who has ever struggled to reconcile love against ambivalence, loyalty against the lure of solitude, and domestic fidelity against the call of the open road,” says Elizabeth Gilbert, author of “Eat, Pray, Love.”

“Hanauer’s crisp examination of a troubled family keenly depicts the mercurial nature of contemporary marriage and parenthood,” says Booklist.

Family dynamics change when a husband abandons his wife and two children. …Eve is forced to come to terms with her new role. Now, she truly is in charge of her family’s future, and she must learn how to juggle parenting, career and friendships. She must make decisions that are difficult and painful at times, but with these feelings are moments of exhilaration and self-fulfillment…. The author’s portrayal of Eve as a woman who has no choice but to muddle through and do the best she can will resonate with many women who have been in, or are going through, similar circumstances. Hanauer delivers a novel that is rich with relatable characters, realistic in its approach and highly readable,” says Kirkus Reviews.

When is it available?

Get going and get “Gone” at the Downtown Hartford Public Library or the Blue Hills branch library.

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