Pictures of You by Caroline Leavitt

Photo: Marko Metzinger/Studio D

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Pictures of You
336 pages; Algonquin
"She knows this is crazy, but right now she's capable of anything." So thinks Isabelle, the troubled heroine of Caroline Leavitt's suspenseful ninth novel, Pictures of You, about two women who flee their marriages on the same September day. Isabelle is driving south from her home on Cape Cod on an increasingly fog-shrouded highway, heading toward a new life. In a reverie about her early days with the husband who has just betrayed her, she plows into a car inexplicably stopped in the middle of the road. By the end of the gripping opening chapter, another woman is dead and her asthmatic 9-year-old son, Sam, is injured and bereft: hardly the new beginning Isabelle had been hoping for.

Leavitt is superb at revealing the secrecy inside many marriages and the way children grieve; several moving scenes involve Sam, who has come to imagine Isabelle as a crash scene "angel" who will take him to his mother. Most impressive is how Leavitt deals head-on with well-meaning people who come to realize, too late, that even an imperfect life is irreplaceable.
— Jane Ciabattari