STARRED REVIEW
May 05, 2015

A family’s dark shadow

By Heidi Pitlor
Review by
The central characters in The Daylight Marriage, Hannah and Lovell Hall, married young. She wanted stability; He wanted a chance at love. But as the years passed, resentments and unmet desires festered below the surface of their neat facade, creating a rift between the husband and wife that seemed insurmountable.
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The central characters in The Daylight Marriage, Hannah and Lovell Hall, married young. She wanted stability; He wanted a chance at love. But as the years passed, resentments and unmet desires festered below the surface of their neat facade, creating a rift between the husband and wife that seemed insurmountable.

Always a beauty, Hannah grew up impulsive and spunky, a member of an upper-class family who took luxurious vacations and lived in mansions. Lovell, a climate scientist, was raised squarely in the middle class, in a home where emotions were more reserved and everything was practical. Despite their differences, the two try form a life together: Lovell works at his university job, which provides a distraction from his tenuous home life, and Hannah takes care of their two children, Janine and Ethan, and works a part-time job at a flower shop.

But after Hannah disappears the morning following an explosive argument with Lovell, questions arise not only from the community and the police but from within the family; Janine and Ethan grapple with the absence of their mother while also suspecting their father of involvement. While trying to deal with the intricacies of Hannah’s disappearance, Lovell must also attempt hold his loosely knit family together.

The Daylight Marriage is structured in two sets of chapters that alternate between Hannah’s and Lovell’s respective viewpoints, keeping the pages turning as the stories of love, loss, growth and grief progress.

Heidi Pitlor is a senior editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and published her first novel, The Birthdays, in 2006. She has been the series editor of The Best American Short Stories since 2007, and lives outside Boston with her husband and twin son and daughter. In The Daylight Marriage, she combines two distinct stories in one—a suspenseful crime narrative and the story of a failing relationship—to form a novel that captures readers from the first page on.

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The Daylight Marriage

The Daylight Marriage

By Heidi Pitlor
Algonquin
ISBN 9781616203689

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