About the Book:
In her most ambitious novel to date, New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard takes on the story of a family from the hopeful early days of young marriage to parenthood, divorce, and its costly aftermath—to illuminate how the mistakes of parents are passed down through generations to fester, or to be healed.
After falling in love in the last years of the 1970s, Eleanor and Cam follow their dream of raising three children on a New Hampshire farm. Theirs is a seemingly idyllic life of summer softball games and Labor Day cookouts, snow days and skating on the pond. But when a tragic accident permanently injures the family’s youngest child, Eleanor blames Cam. Her inability to forgive him leads to a devastating betrayal: an affair with the family babysitter that brings about the end of their marriage.
Over the decades that follow, the five members of this fractured family—and the many others who make up their world—make surprising discoveries and decisions that occasionally bring them together, and often tear them apart. As we follow the family from the days of illegal abortion and the draft through the early computer age, the Challenger explosion, the AIDS epidemic, the early awakenings of the #MeToo era, and beyond, through the gender transition of one of the children and another’s choice to cease communication with her mother, we witness a family forced to confront essential, painful truths of its past and find redemption in the face of unanticipated disaster.
With endearingly flawed characters and a keen eye for detail, Joyce Maynard transforms the territory she knows best—home, family, parenthood, love, and loss—into the stuff of a page-turning thriller. In this achingly beautiful novel, she reminds us how great sorrow and great joy may coexist—and frequently do.
Magnificent. Loved hearing the story narrated by the author herself! My review will not do this beautiful story justice. Just know that I listened to the 15-hour audiobook in just a few days (a record for me) and ordered a hardback copy for my bookshelves when I finished.
I love a family saga, and the story of Eleanor and her life, first as a young girl orphaned by her parents’ sudden death and later, as a young mother, gripped me from the first few words. Nothing was more important to her than creating a peaceful home life for her wonderful artist husband Cam and their three children on the idyllic New Hampshire farm that Eleanor had purchased with her own money.
“This was her artwork, this family.”
So many real-life events are mentioned in the story that were a part of my life: the Challenger tragedy, the death of Princess Diana, to name a few, that made me feel very nostalgic for the past past few decades. This is an incredibly poignant tale of a mother’s love and devotion to her children and her family, and the ways in which we all have to learn to let go. Eleanor and Cam’s relationship changes and evolves and not always with good intentions. A sudden, unimaginable tragedy leaves the whole family reeling, and fractured.
“So many ways to mark the passage of time in a marriage, the seasons of love.”
This is my first book by Joyce Maynard and I have now purchased two more of her books. Her writing transfixed me. I could not stop listening to this book, even through the painful passages. I did not want this book to end! I read somewhere that the author might be working on a sequel and if so, I cannot wait.
The New England setting of this book is absolutely magical. Eleanor wanted to create a warm home life for her children and the farm is central to the story. From the births of her children, to harsh winters, to the rushing stream where the children played in the Spring, the scenes of their lives are played out on the farm.
“Why did people think having a tidy home, or a quiet one, was such a great thing? To Eleanor, the sound of her family’s voices was music.”
‘Count the Ways’ is an epic story of parenting, marriage, loneliness, relationships, infidelity and forgiveness in all its many forms. While I did not agree with some of Eleanor’s choices, as a parent, I felt her broken heart deeply. While some of this book mirrors the author’s real life, she has made it clear that this is a work of fiction. I won’t ever forget the Cork People or any of the characters in this book. A new top favorite and a must-read!
A Favorite Quote:
“How does it happen that a person with whom you have shared your most intimate moments—greatest love, greatest pain, joy, also grief—can become a stranger?”