Two writers reunite 15 years after an intense, weeklong affair changed both of their lives.
Eva Mercy is the successful author of a long-running erotica series with a devoted fan base, but as the deadline for the 15th book approaches, she has to admit she’s run out of ideas. She can’t afford to give up the series, which keeps her and her 12-year-old daughter, Audre, financially afloat, so her dream of researching and writing the stories of the Louisiana Creole women who are her ancestors is permanently on hold. At a Brooklyn literary panel, she has a surprising public reunion with Shane Hall, the reclusive, award-winning author of four books of literary fiction. As seniors in high school, Shane and Eva shared one week of passionate connection; they revealed to each other their raw pain and the extreme coping mechanisms (addiction, cutting) they used to survive. Now Shane has been clean for two years and Eva’s finally found a doctor who properly medicates her chronic, debilitating migraines. With chapters from the past interspersed throughout the novel, Williams juxtaposes Shane and Eva as reined-in adults with their terrifyingly out-of-control teen selves. Their reunion feels like coming home but also reveals that they might not have the skills to sustain a successful adult relationship. Williams’ novel is a tour de force, capturing Eva’s experience as part of the Black literati in Brooklyn, her urge to hide generational trauma from her daughter while still celebrating their ancestors, and the ways in which fate brings people together. The structure of the novel is complex but ultimately rewarding and provides a portrait of a richly layered world.
A hugely satisfying romance that is electrifying and alive.