Grand Central Publishing | June 2017 | 288 pgs
Source: Library

Small Hours is Jennifer Kitses' debut novel and a compelling domestic drama that explores a couple's search for a new life and how a misstep devastates the family thereafter. 

Two years ago, Tom and Helen fled their home in New York to live in Devon; a former mill town and now an exurb. With its quiet community and away from the pressures of the city, they (especially Helen) are hopeful that this new place would give them some bliss and some peace where they could raise their young twin daughters who are three. Before the move, both Tom and Helen struggled to keep their jobs during the economy crisis but failed. Both of them eventually found something but not without a price. For Tom, a 90-minute train ride is essential for his journey to and from work aside from a demanding boss at a newswire firm. While Helen has the flexibility of working at home for her designing projects, her job often requires her to work last minute changes on short notices regardless of the hours. As they juggle between work and family, the stress begins to take a toll on them until Helen snaps over an incident on one fateful September morning. Tom, on the other hand, has been trying to keep his infidelity a few years back under wraps until it comes to a stage whereby he has to make a decision whether or not if he should let his "other family" go or to remain as part of his life. 

Small Hours is an addictive domestic drama which tells what many working parents are facing today - to find balance between work and family on top of the financial stress. However, it is also a story about secrets, bad choices and decisions and how they will destroy the fragile equilibrium of a family bliss if one is not careful. Tom and Helen, both in their early 40s which is neither too young nor too old, are stuck in a situation where they don't have many job opportunities that work in their favours. Most of all, there aren't much communications in between their busy life so it is not surprising to see one party succumbs to temptations while the other break under pressure. While there aren't twists and turns (or murder) in this novel, it was interesting (and intriguing) seeing the story unfolds through Tom's and Helen's story alternatively in a span of one fateful September day until the conclusion. It was thought-provoking in a way, and I was glad I picked this up.

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6 Responses
  1. Lark Says:

    It's told all in one day? That is interesting!

  2. This sounds interesting, Melody. I have mixed feelings about books that involve infidelity, but I'm curious to know what happened that fateful September day!

  3. Melody Says:

    Lark - Yes, and it makes it all the more intriguing and tense.

  4. Melody Says:

    Wendy - I know what you mean, Wendy. I'm not a fan of books involving infidelity but I think this issue played an important part in this story and shows the struggle between Tom and Helen and what decision they've to make in the end.

  5. jenclair Says:

    I, too, dislike reading about unfaithful partners, and hate that infidelity is so common. Secrets and bad choices and the stress of modern life--disasters waiting to happen

  6. Melody Says:

    Jenclair - Totally agree.

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