The Mysteries

Bloomsbury. Apr. 2021. 256p. ISBN 9781635576443. $26.
Against the backdrop of the Vietnam War, Watergate, and an economic downturn on the nightly news, the lives of two families intersect through the friendship of their seven-year-old daughters. Miggy is the headstrong child of the Brennemans, a once proudly nonconformist couple who are now weighed down by the responsibilities of Jean’s fledgling dance studio and Julian’s failing hardware business. Miggy’s devoted follower Ellen is content to escape her quiet home, where her mother sleeps away postpartum depression, and a severe housekeeper rules the roost. Left mostly to their own devices, the girls play at religious confession, become preoccupied with POWs and patients in iron lungs, and watch over Miggy’s expectant dog. When a tragedy occurs, the lives of both families are completely derailed.
VERDICT Silver (Mary Coin; Little Nothing) paints an evocative picture of the early ’70s. This compelling domestic drama, with heartbreak at its center, depicts the everyday mysteries that lead up to the big one
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