Tina Jordan
September 07, 2012 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Those We Love Most

type
Book
Current Status
In Season
author
Lee Woodruff
publisher
Voice
genre
Fiction

We gave it a B

If Lee Woodruff’s debut novel, Those We Love Most, at first seems the stuff of standard midlist women’s fiction — two fraying marriages, a predictable affair, the death of a young child — well, it is. Yet against the odds, given the cardboardy story she’s laid out, Woodruff elevates her stock characters (especially bereaved mother Maura and her philandering father, Roger) by sketching them as less than sympathetic, even at times downright unlikable. As a result, a book that threatened to turn into yet another soapy family drama becomes something fresher, sharper, and more indelible. B

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