City Journal: Body Surfing

In her 13th novel, Shreve introduces Sydney, a woman who, reeling from both divorce and widowhood by age 29, takes a summer job tutoring a teenage girl.


In her 13th novel, Shreve introduces Sydney, a woman who, reeling from both divorce and widowhood by age 29, takes a summer job tutoring a teenage girl. When the teen’s two older brothers vie for the tutor’s attention, Sydney is tangled in family tensions as well as her own disappointment and self-awareness. The bestselling Longmeadow author writes the story in sketches, but this vignette style detracts from an otherwise powerful tale as a family fractures under stress and betrayal. —Cheryl Alkon