The Caretakers (MP3 CD)
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May 2022 Indie Next List
“This book took me completely by surprise as it wormed its way into my heart. An absolutely stunning portrayal of motherhood, wealth, and pretense told through the interconnected stories of the women in a small French neighborhood.”
— Courtney Ulrich Smith, Underbrush Books, Rogers, AR
Thrilling and deeply moving, gorgeously written and intricately plotted . . . bold and brilliant. -ELIZABETH MCCRACKEN
Set in a wealthy Parisian suburb, an emotionally riveting debut told from the point of view of six women, and centered around a group of au pairs, one of whom is arrested after a sudden and suspicious tragedy strikes her host family--a dramatic exploration of identity, class, and caregiving from a profoundly talented new writer.
Paris, 2015. A crowd gathers outside the Chauvet home in the affluent suburban community of Maisons-Larue, watching as the family's American au pair is led away in handcuffs after the sudden death of her young charge. The grieving mother believes the caretaker is to blame, and the neighborhood is thrown into chaos, unsure who is at fault--the enigmatic, young foreigner or the mother herself, who has never seemed an active participant in the lives of her children.
The truth lies with six women: G raldine, a heartbroken French teacher struggling to support her vulnerable young students; Lou, an incompetent au pair who was recently fired by the family next door; Charlotte, a chilly socialite and reluctant mother; Nathalie, an isolated French teenager desperate for her mother's attention; Holly, a socially anxious au pair yearning to belong in her adopted country; and finally, Alena, the one accused of the crime, who has gone to great lengths to avoid emotional connection, and now finds herself caught in the turbulent power dynamics of her host family's household.
Set during the weeks leading up to the event, The Caretakers is a poignant and suspenseful drama featuring complicated women. It's a sensitive exploration of the weight of secrets, the pressures of country, community, and family--and miscommunications and misunderstandings that can have fatal consequences.
A deep, enthralling pleasure, as wise as it is lovely. I read it voraciously, desperate to discover the fates of its unforgettable characters . . . Magnificent. - ROBIN WASSERMAN