Schachner has published short fiction in many journals and magazines,
including Puerto del Sol, Ontario Review and The Sun, and she
contributes articles about books and literary culture to publications
such as The Guardian and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Originally
from North Carolina, Schachner lives in Atlanta, where she is
the editor of The Chattahoochee Review.
Frannie Lewis has a
lot of bad history with men, starting with the first one she ever met.
She's watched her aloof father disappear in the summers to work with a
traveling carnival, seen her mother grow ever more suspicious and
resentful. All her life, Frannie has kept their secrets and told their
stories. Now 36, she remains a pawn in their longstanding
marital chess game, and at this point, it has devolved into a grudge
Even so, she longs to be a mother. Motherhood seems like a chance to
reinvent what it means to be a family--to rectify her childhood, to start
fresh. Still single, she isn't sure if this will ever happen. When her
father is diagnosed with cancer, she decides to have a baby on her own
to encourage him to live and to please her mother, who still grieves
over the baby she lost twenty-five years ago.
But Frannie, who grew up with such a feckless father, wants her child
to have a good one. She's just met Jude, who's lonely, earnest, and
kind, but he comes with baggage of his own. He lost his son in a tragic
accident, and his ex-wife Rita can't let go of him. Waiting in the wings
is Hugh, her oldest friend and long-time confidante. He's the easy
choice, but Frannie suspects that he and her family's past are too
As both her father's secrets and Jude's are dragged into the light,
Frannie and Rita make a startling agreement. In the wake of it, Frannie
must choose between two separate narratives. She can relive her parents'
story, which is sad but safe and known, or forge ahead and tell her
own, even though she has no way to see the ending.