A recently widowed mother of two, Sylvie Bates-McAllister finds her life upended by a late-night phone call from the headmaster of the prestigious private school founded by her grandfather where her adopted son Scott teaches. Allegations of Scott's involvement in a hazing scandal cause a ripple effect, throwing the entire family into chaos. For Charles, Sylvie's biological son, it dredges up a ghost from the past who is suddenly painfully present. For his wife Joanna, it forces her to reevaluate everything she's hoped for in the golden Bates-McAllisters. And for Scott, it illuminates harsh truths about a world he has never truly felt himself a part of.
But for all the Bates-McAllisters, the call exposes a tangled web of secrets that ties the family together: the mystery of the school hazing, the event that tore Charles and Scott apart the night of their high school awards ceremony, and the intended recipient of a certain bracelet. The quest to unravel the truth takes the family on individual journeys across state lines, into hospitals, through the Pennsylvania woods, and face-to-face with the long-dormant question: what if the life you always planned for and dreamed of isn't what you want after all?
“Sara Shepard delivers the perfect read with Everything We Ever Wanted. This is a delicious story loaded with mysterious twists and turns and a vault of secrets, that when revealed, will keep you turning pages long into the night. Sara is a brilliant storyteller.”
-Adriana Trigiani, bestselling author of Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine
“With unflinching honesty and unstinting compassion, Sara Shepard tells the story of a proud family, with the best intentions, who must face the hypocrisy of the past or lose any hope for saving the future.”
-Jacquelyn Mitchard, author The Deep End of the Ocean and Second Nature: A Love Story
“[An] expertly rendered novel of family dysfunction set in moneyed Main Line Philadelphia. . . . Readers will respond as this family grapples with their many long-held secrets.”
“The strings are so tightly laced around this family that they are bound to break-when they do, old secrets reap surprising results. . . . Shepard has crafted a fine character study on the repressed lives of the American elite.”
“Explor[ing] the complexity of family dynamics and heritage. . . . Shepard delves deeply into the differing emotions and moods aroused by family conflict.”
“This riveting, provocative and well-crafted family drama surprised and delivered at every turn. I could not put it down.”
-Sarah Mlynowski, author of Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)
“Compelling and touching, this is a story with a difference—a real treat.”
-Closer, 4 stars (UK)