Optometrist Donald Stevenson is too blinded by the recent death of his father to notice that his wife, Viv, has fallen for Mercury, a beautiful and powerful horse that has newly arrived at the stables she runs. Driven by an obsession to compete again as a rider, she hardly pays attention to her husband and children. This loss of connection fosters a series of lies and deceptions that cause a severe crisis for their family and friends. Livesey has written a moving tale of how early loss can produce dire consequences later. Unchecked anguish and ambition lead to poor choices that cause havoc and destruction for this family. How well, the story asks, do we really see each other? Note: Ms. Livesey will be at The Book Stall at 7 pm on Wednesday, October 5.
The Trouble with Goats and Sheep ($25), a first novel by English writer Joanna Cannon, is part mystery, part social commentary, and often very amusing. On a very hot afternoon in June 1976, Mrs. Creasy has gone missing. Ten-year old Grace and her best friend Tilly decide to pose as Brownies, going door to door on their own block to discover why. Along the way, we meet many of their neighbors, most of whom have secrets as well. Within the households there is grief, bullying, and disappointment, but also kindness and concern. Cannon does a splendid job of getting behind the scenes of everyday life. We are reminded that all humans have foibles, but we still need each other.