"Smart and heartfelt"
- Alison Wisdom, author of We Can Only Save Ouselves
A heartfelt debut, The Truth About Ben and June explores the complexity of a modern-day marriage when a new mother vanishes one morning and her husband must retrace events of their recent past to bring her home.
From the moment Ben and June met in a hospital waiting room on New Year’s Eve, their love has seemed fated. Looking back at all the tiny, unlikely decisions that brought them together, it was easy to believe their relationship was special. But now, after several years of marriage, June is struggling as a new mom. At times, she wonders about the life she didn’t choose—what might have been if she hadn’t given up the lead role in a famous ballet to start a family. Feeling like a bad mom and more alone than ever, she writes to her deceased mother, hoping for a sign of what she should do next.
One morning, Ben wakes to the sound of his baby and quickly realizes that June is gone, along with her suitcase. As Ben attempts to piece together June’s disappearance, her new friends mention things he knows nothing about—a mysterious petition, June’s falling-out with another mom, her strange fixation on a Greek myth. The more Ben uncovers about June, the more he realizes how little he actually knows her. And now the only way to bring June home is to understand why she left.
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This powerful novel takes an honest, unflinching look at the challenges of modern parenthood from both sides of a marriage, including the profound shame that can come from not living up to expectations. Through the eyes of Ben and June—a couple you will root for from the beginning—Alex Kiester confidently explores the tragedy that comes with hiding our fears from each other, and the healing that can come with sharing them.
- Tracey Lange, New York Times bestselling author of We Are the Brennans
In this smart and heartfelt novel, Alex Kiester tells the story of a marriage, from the heady days of new love to the disorienting transformation into parents, and in doing so tenderly reveals the complexities of sharing one's life with another person. But perhaps even more importantly, Kiester, with clear-eyed empathy, gives voice to the mothers struggling in the postpartum period, offering a nuanced look into something that is often stigmatized. Written with humor, warmth, and tremendous insight, The Truth About Ben and June is an immersive, important work.
- Alison Wisdom, author of We Can Only Save Ourselves
In her debut novel, Kiester dives inside the murky, muddled world of postpartum emotions to share how a stable marriage can crack under the strain of parenthood, insecurities, and stress. Never blaming June or Ben for the problems in their relationship, Kiester allows each character to explore the allure of alternate paths and the pain of missed opportunities. Fans of Marian Keyes, Janelle Brown, and Kimberly Belle will appreciate Kiester's ability to blend the drama of a domestic thriller with a touching portrait of parenthood.
The Truth About Ben and June is a strikingly powerful debut novel. Kiester writes with sensitivity and finesse. Ben and June are sympathetic characters the reader can get behind as they endure the ups and downs of relationships, the struggles of postpartum depression, and how the past can color our present and future lives.
Kiester's first novel explores through the lens of this one marriage what it really means to know another person, and the lies we tell to both ourselves and the ones we love.... Gripping from start to finish, The Truth About Ben and June is a tribute to the idea that love--like family, like life--is a choice, something we must opt into day by day, albeit on our own terms.
- Shelf Awareness