The Best of Families is the 2017 IndieReader Discovery Award winner for popular fiction. This captivating and redemptive novel is the revelatory midlife memoir of a Philadelphia socialite, Francis Hopkinson Delafield. Uncomfortable with the mores of one of the city’s oldest families, Fran begins his story the summer after he graduates from prep school when he dutifully marries his pregnant French Canadian girlfriend only to have her disappear within months of their marriage. Disillusioned and angry at the whole world, Fran quits college and enlists in the army. He is badly wounded in a war that no one seems to know or care about, and upon returning home from Vietnam, he is confronted with navigating the roiled waters of a second marriage while both his parents and his wives hold secrets that alter his life forever.
“Hero Fran Delafield is a compelling narrator—and, even better, an engaging storyteller in this tale of a Quebec-Pennsylvania love match. Set originally in the 1950s and moving through subsequent decades with historical events as a backdrop (the Vietnam War, for one), Fran experiences joy and loss through a series of serendipitous circumstances: a marriage, divorce, combat injuries, children, parental relations, death, and a new beginning. Like life itself.”
With wit and compassion, The Best of Families captures perfectly the floundering of WASP society at mid-20 th century. Trapped in the empty rituals of an upper crust that is well past its sell-by date, young Fran Delafield struggles to free himself from family and tradition. Love, the war in Vietnam and fatherhood turn out to be his path to an authentic life, and his salvation. Harry Groome interweaves romance and tragedy in this lively, evocative novel.
…a heartfelt, captivating read, packed with familial politics and strife.
Not only is The Best of Families a page-turner, but the story truly moved me, and haunts me still.
…a great read that makes a convincing and timeless case for the power of the individual-the power to build your own happiness out of the unwieldy materials you’ve been handed.
A wonderful, fascinating, tragic and ultimately redemptive story that begs to be told.
One of the great pleasures of life is a good book that tells a story so compelling that when you put the book down, you can’t wait to pick it up again. For me, The Best of Families is such a book…(it) blew me away with its believable razor-sharp dialogue and compelling plot…