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Cover of The Jetsetters by Amanda Eyre WardThe Jetsetters

by Amanda Eyre Ward

GENRE: Contemporary Fiction, Family Drama

Family secrets are at the center of this entertaining domestic fiction novel. After winning a luxurious European cruise vacation, Charlotte Perkins has high hopes for reuniting her estranged adult children. But long simmering tensions and explosive secrets threaten her plans for a joyous family reunion. This story embraces the messiness of love and life.

Discussion Guide

Headshot of Amanda Eyre Ward Author Biography

Amanda Eyre Ward is the New York Times bestselling author of Sleep Toward Heaven, How to Be Lost, Love Stories in This Town, Forgive Me, Close Your Eyes, The Same Sky, The Nearness of You, The Jetsetters, and The Lifeguards. Her bestselling novels have been featured in People Magazine, the New York Times, and more. Amanda publishes nonfiction in Travel + Leisure, the New York Times, Texas Monthly, and more, and publishes orginal work on Amanda's work has been optioned for film and television and translated into fifteen languages. She lives in Austin, TX. - Author's website

More Titles By This Author



When Charlotte Perkins wins a Mediterranean cruise in an essay contest, she sees it as the perfect opportunity to reconnect with her adult children; beautiful actress Lee, perpetually single Cord, and perfect housewife Regan. All three are their own kinds of messed up. Lee's career has floundered and she is newly single and homeless. Cord is engaged to his boyfriend, assuring him that on this trip he will come out to his family. And Regan's husband insists on coming along, even though she needs a break from pretending their marriage isn't falling apart. And all three blame Charlotte's repressive, Catholic insistence on everything being fine, yet all three feel responsible for their widowed mother. As the Splendido Marveloso travels from Greece to Malta to Italy, the Perkins' desperate attempts to both keep up appearances and tell their truths are interrupted by port-city excursions and mandatory cruise-ship fun. Each character's dysfunctions run deep, and each plot twist threatens to sink their sanity, resulting in a funny, moving tale of the complications of familial love.--Susan Maguire Copyright 2020 Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

A lonely 71-year-old widow wins a trip to Europe and takes her three grown children in an attempt to reconnect with them. One-time mediocre realtor and long-time widow Charlotte Perkins lives in Savannah, Georgia. When her best friend dies, she realizes just how lonely she has become and how she has lost touch with her grown children, two of whom refuse to speak to each another. Charlotte believes that her eldest daughter, Lee, is an actress on the cusp of success in Los Angeles; that her son, Cord, is a successful venture capitalist in New York City waiting to find the right woman; and that her youngest, Regan, is a happily married stay-at-home mother of two. She doesn't know that Lee is in massive debt, cannot find work, and is living in a La Quinta hotel; that Cord is a struggling-to-stay-sober alcoholic who is happily engaged to a man he adores; and that Regan dreams of murdering her detested husband, whom she regrets marrying after her sister broke his heart. Charlotte herself is not the pious Catholic Church lady everyone thinks she is—she is desperate to find a man, have sex, and live out the naughty pages of her romance books. Everyone in the family is adept at hiding their emotions and themselves from one another. Charlotte hopes to bring them all together again by entering a contest for a cruise through Europe. And she wins. Author Ward (The Nearness of You, 2017, etc.) has created a complex story that explores the tragedies and long-term effects of withheld love, verbal abuse, alcoholism, and depression on individuals and their families, set against the backdrop of a splendidly gaudy, over-the-top Mediterranean cruise ship and its historic ports of call. Open, optimistic, caring, romantic, and thoughtful Giovanni—Cord's fiance—is a highlight of the book .No one, and no relationship, is perfect in this story, which embraces the messiness of love and life. (Kirkus Reviews, January 1, 2020).


Cover of The Vacationers by Emma StraubThe Vacationers
by Emma Straub

Celebrating their thirty-fifth anniversary and their daughter's high-school graduation during a two-week vacation in Mallorca, Franny and Jim Post confront old secrets, hurts, and rivalries that reveal sides of themselves they try to conceal.

Cover of All Adults Here by Emma StraubAll Adults Here
by Emma Straub

When Astrid Strick witnesses a school bus accident in the center of town, it jostles loose a repressed memory from her young parenting days decades earlier. Suddenly, Astrid realizes she was not quite the parent she thought she'd been to her three, now-grown children. But to what consequence?

Astrid's youngest son is drifting and unfocused, making parenting mistakes of his own. Her daughter is pregnant yet struggling to give up her own adolescence. And her eldest seems to measure his adult life according to standards no one else shares. But who gets to decide, so many years later, which long-ago lapses were the ones that mattered? Who decides which apologies really count? It might be that only Astrid's thirteen-year-old granddaughter and her new friend really understand the courage it takes to tell the truth to the people you love the most.

Cover of The Misfortunes of Family by Meg Little ReillyThe Misfortunes of Family
by Meg Little Reilly

The Bright family is the picture of perfection -- attractive, competitive and a bit badly behaved. As the four adult sons of retired senator John Bright head with their partners to the annual family reunion, they have everything they need, except self-awareness. As petty jealousies surface, Philip, the youngest, reveals a surprising personal decision that earns the ribbing--or is it scorn?--of his brothers. Then the senator unexpectedly announces his desire for another political run. Suddenly closely held family secrets start tumbling out and keep coming, including the biggest one that will rock this family to the core.