The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life by William Nicholson
Welcome to Edenfield, an English village in Sussex. It is home to rich and poor, young and old, incomers and folk who've lived there for ever. Among the incomers is mother of two Laura, who, twenty years on, is still pining for Nick, her first love at university. He dumped her, broke her heart and went to live in the States. Now he's back. Her husband Henry is a TV writer who commutes daily and resents the lack of acknowledgment his latest TV series is receiving. Journalist Liz, the single mother (who Henry lusts after on the train to London), still sleeps with her ex ten years after they split and hates herself afterwards. Local schoolmaster, Alan, teaches their children and gets endless rejections for the plays he writes in his spare time. Martin, the struggling farmer, can't bear the yummy mummies and their privileged children; and the kindly local vicar hides a dark secret. These characters - and more - are richly imagined by an author of immense talent whose voice is by turns witty, waspish, sharply observant and achingly tender. Nicholson brings together seamlessly the many strands of his story. Readers will empathize with these characters, laugh at them, cry with them and long for a good outcome for each of them.