GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

June 26, 2013

Local novelist to give reading tonight of third novel

By Gail McCarthy
Staff Writer

---- — Elizabeth Hartley Winthrop, who recently moved to Cape Ann, has just released her third novel “The Why of Things,” published by Simon & Schuster.

Winthrop, who was born and raised in New York City, spent summers growing up here on Cape Ann, where the novel takes place.

Two readings are scheduled here, the first tonight (Wednesday, June 26) at 7 p.m. at Toad Hall Bookstore on Main Street in Rockport, and the second on July 11 at The Bookstore in Gloucester.

Winthrop’s latest novel is about a family struggling to cope in the aftermath of their 17-year-old daughter’s suicide. But into that mix comes another death; a pickup truck inexplicably drives into a quarry in the backyard of the family’s summer home late one June evening, after which divers recover the body of a young man.

“The book starts and ends at the same quarry’s edge, but a quarry changed. Winthrop’s quiet magic makes the water’s mutable darkness bearable and better — nothing to be afraid of, a substance of possibilities,” wrote Christine Schutt, author of “Prosperous Friends.”

Schutt went on to write that Winthrop “conjures light from a dark place in her beautifully constructed novel.”

Simon & Schuster Senior Editor Millicent Bennett noted the talent of the author, called “bitingly intelligent” by The New York Times.

“For a long time I’ve admired Elizabeth from afar as one of the most talented up-and-coming writers of her generation, so when the chance came to publish her myself I jumped at it,” wrote Bennett in a press release. “Her new novel takes us inside the story of a family’s loss and healing in the wake of a shocking tragedy. It’s a theme that resonates strongly with so many readers, including myself yet I’ve seldom seen the subject handled with such controlled grace, honesty, and compassion.”

Kirkus Reviews described Winthrop’s latest work as “a somber novel about the effects of suicide on a family and the secret wounds that become memorials. ... Tender and true ... the end reveals a quiet beauty.”

Winthrop’s education went from coast to coast. She graduated from Harvard, after which she earned a master’s degree from the University of California, Irvine, before returning to the East Coast.

Gail McCarthy can be reached at 978-283-7000 x3445, or gmccarthy@gloucestertimes.com.