Kate Hilton

Fiction



 

HarperCollins, Canada, 2014
NAL/Penguin Random House USA 2015

The Hole in the Middle 

Sophie Whelan is the epitome of the modern, successful woman. She has a great husband, two adorable children, a cohort of funny, generous friends, and a high-powered job as a public relations executive at a leading children’s hospital. When Sophie operates at peak performance, she can cajole balky employees, soothe cranky children, trouble-shoot career disasters, throw a dinner party for 10 without anxiety, and draft a chirpy Christmas letter—all in the same day.

 

But as Sophie’s 40th birthday looms, her seamless life reveals disturbing web-like fractures. Conflict with her boss, blossoming jealousy of her husband’s femme fatale business partner, and her feelings of hopeless inadequacy as a mother and daughter, are cracking the edifice of her life. She is overwhelmed. Opening her email in-basket makes her cry.

Rescue, though, appears at hand. Lillian Parker, a wealthy widow who played a pivotal role in Sophie’s life during her university days, has made a Sophie an offer that sounds ideal. Why, then, is Sophie hesitant?

The answer is Lillian’s nephew, Will Shannon, who was the great love and crushing disappointment of her college days. Will’s reappearance represents the unresolved “what if” of Sophie’s adult life. Sophie’s effort to regain mastery and chart a new direction provides dramatic and comic fodder.

Kate Hilton has an exceptional gift for creating characters that are easy to love, a talent for writing a story you can’t stop reading, and a flair for the surprising and satisfying ending. She also displays a sure comic touch in depicting the world of overwhelmed women: performance reviews, hiring committees, the politics of society fund-raising galas, strife at family yoga, and the ubiquitous book group where only one keener has read the book. This debut novel heralds an author who will appeal to readers of Sophie Kinsella or Alison Pearson’s novel, I Don’t Know How She Does It.