Anna Schachner was a nominee for Georgia Author of the Year for her first novel, You and Me and Someone Else. It was also an INDIES Book of the Year finalist. She has published short fiction and creative nonfiction in many journals and magazines, including Puerto del Sol, Ontario Review, and The Sun, and she writes about books and literary culture for publications such as The Guardian and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. She is a frequent guest lecturer in Emory University’s creative writing program, speaks at writing conferences and book festivals all over the South, runs a series of writing workshops for veterans, and volunteers with Reforming Arts to teach writing in the Georgia prison system. Originally from Charlotte, North Carolina, she grew up in Augusta, Georgia, and now lives in Atlanta, where she is the editor of The Chattahoochee Review.
Frannie Lewis has a lot of bad history with men, starting with the first one she ever met. She’s watched her aloof father disappear in the summers to work with a traveling carnival, seen her mother grow ever more suspicious and resentful. All her life, Frannie has kept their secrets and told their stories. Now thirty-six, she remains a pawn in their longstanding marital chess game—and at this point, it has devolved into a grudge match. Even so, she longs to be a mother. Motherhood seems like a chance to reinvent what it means to be a family—to rectify her childhood, to start fresh. Still single, she isn’t sure if this will ever happen. When her father is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to have a baby on her own to encourage him to live and to please her mother, who still grieves over the baby she lost twenty-five years ago. But Frannie, who grew up with such a feckless father, wants her child to have a good one. She’s just met Jude, who’s lonely, earnest, and kind, but he comes with baggage of his own. He lost his son in a tragic accident, and his ex-wife Rita can’t let go of him. Waiting in the wings is Hugh, her oldest friend and long-time confidante. He’s the easy choice, but Frannie suspects that he and her family’s past are too precariously intertwined. As both her father’s secrets and Jude’s are dragged into the light, Frannie and Rita make a startling agreement. In the wake of it, Frannie must choose between two separate narratives. She can relive her parents’ story, which is sad but safe and known, or forge ahead and tell her own-even though she has no way to see the ending.