"Hart’s novel does something exceptional that few pieces of fiction have done successfully….[H]as flashes of Sally Rooney’s Conversations With Friends." – New York Times “An unforgettable account of a forbidden romance.” – Nicole Dennis-Benn, author of Patsy
“Moving and memorable.” – Meg Wolitzer, author of The Female Persuasion
“Sensual and wise.” – Tayari Jones, author of An American Marriage A novel about a young woman’s life-altering affair with a much older, married woman.
Mallory is a freshman in college when she meets the woman. She sees her for the first time at the university’s gym, immediately entranced by this elegant, older person, whom she later learns is married and works at the school. Before long, they begin a clandestine affair. Self-possessed, successful, brilliant, and aloof, the woman absolutely consumes Mallory, who is still reeling from her mother’s death a few months earlier. Mallory retreats from the rest of the world and into a relationship with this melancholy, elusive woman she admires so much yet who can never be fully hers, solidifying a sense of solitude that has both haunted and soothed her as long as she can remember.
Years after the affair has ended, Mallory must decide whether to stay safely in this isolation, this constructed loneliness, or to step fully into the world and confront what the woman meant to her, for better or worse. This simmering, unsettling debut novel reveals the consequences of desire and influence, portraying two women whose lives have been transformed by love, loss, and secrecy.