You Are the Love of My Life


Lucy Painter is leaving New York and her married lover, the father of her two children, to live in the house in Washington where she discovered her father’s suicide. After his death, Lucy and her mother had moved to New Mexico and reinvented who they were. Secrets became part of the fabric of Lucy’s life.

The novel takes place against a background of national deceptions. 1973: the year of the institutional lies of Watergate, the Paris Peace Accords on Viet Nam which ended our treacherous involvement in that war–the year homosexuality in the United States was decriminalized and the landmark Supreme Court Decision on Roe Vs. Wade was passed allowing women the freedom of choice—a history integral to this story.

In the neighborhood to which Lucy and her children move, a cluster of women under the wing of charismatic Zee Mallory, live as a fabricated family. Zee, secretly longing for a daughter is obsessed with Lucy’s daughter, Maggie and seeks to claim her.

An interior, sensitive, childlike writer/illustrator of children’s books, Lucy knows how to be a woman with children alone. What she does not trust is the danger of belonging to a community beyond her tiny family. The events of this story, the revelation of long hidden secrets, bring Lucy to trust the broad margins of love.

You Are the Love of My Life is a story of shame, how shame leads to secrets and secrets to lies. And how lies stand in the way of human connection.


“Prolific and perceptive Shreve handles complex themes of identity, loyalty, privacy and commitment with finesse, delicacy, and insight.”—Booklist: starred review

“Shreve explores the damaging ripple effects of secrets in her emotional and psychologically compelling newest. ….an authoritative command of narrative, and she portrays the younger characters with insight and pitch-perfect dialogue, crafting a message of transparency and acceptance than resonates beyond the home.”—Publishers Weekly

“Spare, elegant and absolutely riveting, Shreve’s fascinating look at our human longing for love and security unfolds like a thriller.”—PEOPLE Magazine Pick of the Week