Under the Influence: A Novel
The New York Times bestselling author of Labor Day and After Her returns with a poignant story about the true meaning-and the true price-of friendship. Alcohol cost Helen her marriage and custody of David, her seven-year-old son. Though she once had aspirations to be an art photographer, she makes ends meet taking pictures of grade-school children and working society parties for a catering company. Recovering from her addiction, she spends her evenings checking out profiles on an online dating site; weekends, she has awkward visits with her son, but he seems to be drifting away from her, fast. When she meets Ava and Swift Havilland, the vulnerable Helen is instantly enchanted. Wealthy, connected philanthropists, they have their own charity devoted to the care and welfare of dogs. Their home is filled with glamorous friends, edgy art, and fabulous parties. As Helen increasingly falls under the Havillands' influence-running errands, doing random chores, cataloguing Ava's art collection-Ava and Swift hire a good lawyer to help her regain custody of her son. But the debt Helen owes them is about to come due. David witnesses an accident involving Swift, his grown son, Cooper, and the daughter of the Havillands' Guatemalan housekeeper. With David's future in the balance, Helen must choose between the truth and the friends who have given her everything.
My to-do list had umpteen items on it, but I let them all go to hell as I tore through Joyce Maynard s latest page-turner. . . . To-do list? What to-do list? "Under the Influence" is a riveting read. --Wally Lamb"
Joyce Maynard is the author of seven previous novels, including To Die For, Labor Day, and The Good Daughters, and four books of nonfiction. Her bestselling memoir, At Home in the World, has been translated into sixteen languages. Maynard's bestselling novel Labor Day was adapted for film by Academy Award-nominated director Jason Reitman and stars Kate Winslet and Josh Brolin. Maynard makes her home in California.