No One Could Have Guessed the Weather by Anne-Marie Casey

9 of 30
No One Could Have Guessed the Weather
275 pages; Amy Einhorn/Putnam
In this lush, orchestral debut novel, four women arrive at similar dismal, disorienting moments of total-life paralysis. Lucy has lost everything in the international banking crash. Christy is falling (quietly) in love with her doorman, while still married to her older wealthy husband. Robyn and Julia—furniture-store clerk and TV writer, respectively—have worked themselves into a state of delirium trying to financially support their husbands and families. The group connects through their kids, all of whom attend the same New York City public school. There are quite a few hilarious scenes of the moms and their kids together, including one in which they all attend a horse-therapy course where the skittish animals are supposed to guide the students into new states of emotional awareness. The real story here, however, isn't one that's expected, about female friendship or life in the big city. Instead it's about what happens "when the opportunity for a new life has presented itself." Who takes that opportunity? And who doesn't? Casey has such an understated, believable way of showing how quickly enormous life-altering decisions can be made—without phony drama or fanfare—that you'll find yourself enjoyably surprised. For instance, one of the four women (no names, but she grew up with the kind of mother who would drank three bottles of Chardonnay, then threw Christmas dessert at carolers on the doorstep) chooses to allow herself to finally enjoy her marriage and family because "she was hopelessly codependent, and it was simply love."
— Leigh Newman