The Sweetest Days (Paperback)
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A riveting and poignant portrait of marriage—lauded by New York Times bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand as “gorgeous and heartbreaking”—that explores the long union of a middle-aged couple grappling with secrets, illness, and loyalty.
Pete and Jackie Hatch have been together for decades; they were high school sweethearts, although they didn’t marry until years after an explosive incident at the end of senior year broke them apart. Now in their sixties, with their only daughter grown and facing scary news about Jackie’s health, they travel to their Cape Cod hometown for Pete’s first book signing. But a disastrous encounter with an old schoolmate brings their long marriage to the breaking point and forces them to revisit the long-ago event that changed the trajectory of their lives.
Exceptionally moving and heralded by New York Times bestselling author Mary Beth Keane as “brutally honest and true,” The Sweetest Days is an insightful portrait of a couple in it for the long haul, and of the deepest feelings, both tender and fierce, that are held in the wake of an enduring marriage.
About the Author
John Hough Jr. is the author of five previous novels, including Seen the Glory: A Novel of the Battle of Gettysburg, winner of the American Library Association’s 2010 W.Y. Boyd Award, The Last Summer, and three works of nonfiction. He is a graduate of Haverford College, a former VISTA volunteer, speech writer for Senator Charles Mathias of Maryland, and assistant to James Reston at the Washington Bureau of The New York Times. He grew up in Falmouth, Massachusetts, and now lives on Martha’s Vineyard.
"An elegant novel, evocative of the great books that first made me want to be a writer —A Separate Peace, Rabbit, Run. The writing is gorgeous and heartbreaking, the story of love and privilege engrossing, and the dialogue nothing short of brilliant. I found myself in this novel’s thrall.”—Elin Hilderbrand, bestselling author of Summer of ’69
"Brutally honest and true. This novel offers such a sweeping sense of a whole life, how truly complex relationships are, and how our smallest decisions end up reverberating forever."
Mary Beth Keane, bestselling author of Ask Again, Yes
“A riveting exploration of the challenges and complexities of a long, loving marriage. John Hough's economical prose and sharp dialogue cut to the heart of the secrets and longings that hold people together even while threatening to tear them apart. This is an insightful and beautifully written novel that will please readers of Richard Russo, David Gates, and even Raymond Carver. Urgent, unsentimental, and very much of the moment.”—Stephen McCauley, author of The Object of My Affection
"Mesmerizing...A gorgeously crafted study of the passions and betrayals, loyalties and regrets that make up a lifelong marriage. Heartwrenching. Profound. And utterly unforgettable."—Tish Cohen, author of The Summer We Lost Her
"With a keen and compassionate eye, Hough takes us inside a flawed but deeply felt marriage. Poignant, wry, and exquisitely written, this novel shows how fragile the ties that bind can be, and how precious."—Jenny Allen, author of Thurber Prize finalist Would Everybody Please Stop?UGREGMO -
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“Evocative...the writing is spare and seamless… Hough is without doubt a proficient craftsman.” —Publishers Weekly
"[B]rilliant, wise, and often heartbreaking." —The MV (Martha's Vineyard) Times
"Hough writes everything with a crisp narrative snap that never fails to be interesting.... Almost every character in Hough’s novel is fascinating, multi-layered and often unpredictable." —The Vineyard Gazette
"A long, loving marriage, realistically portrayed, with frights and hurts, but warmth and intimacy, too... powerfully evocative." —Sullivan County Democrat