A Novel by Elizabeth LaBan
“Beside Herself is a heartwarming love story with a unique twist on the aftermath of an affair. With a full cast of sympathetic characters— and the cutest little boy, Linc— readers travel deep inside the complex layers of contemporary family life and a marriage that has lost its way. An outstanding choice for a book club.” —Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son and The Promise Between Us
“Elizabeth LaBan’s chatty, familiar style instantly drew me into the drama of the story and kept me entertained throughout. A perfect poolside read!” —Cynthia Ellingsen, Amazon Charts bestselling author of The Lighthouse Keeper
From the bestselling author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife comes a surprising and heartwarming novel about the making—and unmaking—of a marriage and one woman’s quest through it all.
There are few things more difficult to overcome than infidelity. For many, it’s marriage-ending. But, what happens when an otherwise happy marriage suffers from an affair? Is there room for forgiveness and redemption?
These are the tough questions at the heart of Elizabeth LaBan’s charming, witty, and thought-provoking new novel BESIDE HERSELF (Lake Union Publishing; October 22, 2019), as a woman blindsided by her husband’s infidelity must decide whether she wants to stay and work on her marriage or leave and start anew.
Hannah Bent is beside herself. Life as she’s known it has been a lie. At least, that’s how she feels when she discovers texts on her husband’s phone from another woman. A woman he’d been sleeping with while traveling for business. She thinks her marriage is over. Isn’t that what happens after an affair? Her husband, Joel, wants nothing more than to stay together and repent for his mistake for the rest of their lives. Hannah is so angry and upset, it’s hard to imagine ever feeling secure in the relationship again. But she’s not sure what she wants. She’s seen friends divorce, and it’s not pretty. After all, they have an otherwise happy life together, and she still loves him, although begrudgingly. But, how can she ever move past this?
Furious and stuck, she makes a radical proposition: she will have an affair of her own to even the score. Desperate for forgiveness, her husband agrees. As Hannah attempts to dive into the dating pool, going on numerous awkward dates, she learns just how challenging it is for a middle-aged mother of two to meet someone. When she’s just about given up hope for a successful and fulfilling affair, she finds a deep connection in the most unexpected of places. This genuine connection is both exciting and concerning. What does it mean for her future? Her marriage? What does she really want?
BESIDE HERSELF is the latest example of Elizabeth LaBan’s gift for writing heartfelt, surprising, and poignant novels about marriage and motherhood with utterly relatable heroines you can’t help but root for—no matter what. This surprising twist on an affair and its aftermath is sure to leave readers thinking about the unexpected detours we take in life and how they often bring us back to exactly where we want to be.
A Novel by Elizabeth LaBan
“Not Perfect is near perfect. Warm, but not cloying. Moral, but not preachy. A beautiful meditation on redemption.” —Kathy Cooperman, bestselling author of Crimes Against a Book Club
“Not Perfect is a bighearted exploration of motherhood, image, and what really matters most.” —Emily Cavanagh, author of The Bloom Girls
“Not Perfect is a captivating story about keeping up appearances, written with a perfect blend of humor and drama. Tabitha is delightfully human and flawed, and her struggle to preserve the balance of her world in the face of her missing husband (where is Stuart, anyway?) is highly relatable. A fun read that manages to also be thought-provoking.” —Kerry Anne King, author of Closer Home and I Wish You Happy
From Elizabeth LaBan, the acclaimed author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, comes a captivating and very funny novel about a wife and mother’s fall from grace, and why keeping up appearances is not her biggest secret.
Tabitha Brewer wakes up one morning to find her husband gone, leaving her no way to support herself and their two children, never mind their upscale Philadelphia lifestyle. She’d confess her situation to her friends—if it wasn’t for those dreadful words of warning in his goodbye note: “I’ll tell them what you did.”
Instead, she does her best to keep up appearances, even as months pass and she can barely put food on the table—much less replace a light bulb. While she looks for a job, she lives in fear that someone will see her stuffing toilet paper into her handbag or pinching basil from a neighbor’s window box.
Soon, blindsided by catastrophe, surprised by romance, and stunned by the kindness of a stranger, Tabitha realizes she can’t keep her secrets forever. Sooner or later, someone is bound to figure out that her life is far from perfect.
A Novel by Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino
“When the literal walls come down among neighbors in adjoining Philadelphia row houses, three young families have the chance to create their own urban Utopia. But can they pull it off? Elizabeth LaBan and Melissa DePino pack Pretty Little World full of gourmet meals, marital scandal, inquisitive neighbors, and friendships whose bonds are sorely tested. The result is a skilled, funny, and highly engaging examination of family, love, and marriage in the City of Brotherly Love. This book is a win.”
—Meg Mitchell Moore, author of The Admissions
“Do good fences really make good neighbors? That’s the question at the heart of LaBan and DePino’s intriguing novel. Brimming with astute observations and chock full of surprises until the very last page, Pretty Little World offers a fresh, unexpected look at friendship and marriage.”
—Camille Pagán, author of Life and Other Near-Death Experiences
“Hilarious, relatable, and surprisingly complex, the families in this engaging novel truly touched my heart. I laughed, I cried—I cringed!—but mostly I recognized their longing to feel true community in a world that often makes us feel so alone.”
—Loretta Nyhan, author of All the Good Parts, Empire Girls, and I’ll Be Seeing You
A Novel by Elizabeth LaBan
“A heartfelt and relatable look at a woman navigating the difficulties of marriage and motherhood—while struggling to maintain a sense of self. Written with charm, honesty, and an insider’s eye into a usually hidden slice of the restaurant world. It’s a winning recipe.” —Sarah Pekkanen, internationally bestselling author of The Wife Between Us and An Anonymous Girl
What could be better than being married to a restaurant critic? All those amazing meals at the best restaurants…pure nirvana, right? Well, Lila Soto, the heroine of Elizabeth LaBan’s charming novel, The Restaurant Critic’s Wife (Lake Union Publishing; January 5, 2016), might tell you otherwise. Sure the food is heavenly, but the downsides are considerable—especially being married to a man who is obsessed with his job and paranoid to the point of absurdity about being “outed” from his anonymity. Add to the scenario the fact that Lila has given up her own career to follow her husband’s job to a new, unfamiliar city, and that she is now a fulltime stay-at-home mom—a gig she never aspired to, despite loving her kids—and you begin to see why Lila is doubting every life decision she’s ever made.
Though it is not an autobiography by any means, it can’t be overlooked that Elizabeth LaBan is herself married to Philadelphia restaurant critic Craig LaBan. “This book wouldn’t exist without my husband,” she says, “who brings excitement, adventure, love, and great food into our lives every day, and has always been open to my writing a novel about a woman who is married to a wacky restaurant critic. For the record, Craig is not obsessive or controlling like Sam—and Craig did not tell me to say that.” But, even if her main characters are fictitious, there is no denying that Elizabeth draws on aspects of her own life to lend a delicious verisimilitude to the novel. The Restaurant Critic’s Wife is a charming portrait of the complexities of life that many women face when dealing with their marriages, their children, their friendships, and their careers. All the talk about exquisite food is merely the icing on a one-of-a-kind cake.
Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. She is also the author of The Tragedy Paper, which has been translated into eleven languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, which has been translated into seven languages.
In her first novel for adults, Elizabeth LaBan proves adept at capturing the essence of our lives. I hope you will plan prominent review and feature attention and I look forward to discussing interview possibilities with you.
A Novel by Elizabeth LaBan
Now available in eleven languages
Set at a private school inspired by the elite Hackley School in Tarrytown, NY, THE TRAGEDY PAPER is the highly anticipated first novel from Elizabeth LaBan (Alfred A. Knopf). Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and Looking for Alaska, LaBan’s debut offers a suspenseful exploration of forbidden love, tenuous friendship, and the lengths people will go to keep their secrets.
In a starred review, Booklist raved, “Debut novelist LaBan takes us into the private school culture as well as the heads of two charming yet very different teenage boys and their parallel love stories…Nonexistent parents, well-intentioned, likeable faculty on the periphery, elaborate dorm rooms with overstuffed closets, even the romantic, snow-covered campus all contribute to a setting that adds to the story’s heft and intrigue.”
Welcome to the Irving School, where the motto is “Enter here to be and find a friend”-though Tim Macbeth’s expectations are definitely not that high. A 17 year-old albino and a recent transfer to the prestigious private school, all Tim really wants to do is make it through his senior year unnoticed. But despite his efforts to remain off the radar, he finds himself falling for Vanessa Sheller, girlfriend of the most popular guy on campus. To Tim’s surprise, Vanessa is into him, too-though she can kiss her social status goodbye if anyone finds out. Looming in the background of their clandestine relationship is the Tragedy Paper, Irving’s version of a senior thesis, assigned by the school’s least forgiving teacher. LaBan skillfully weaves in the alternating perspective of Duncan, a current Irving senior, as he uncovers the truth behind Tim and Vanessa’s story, consequently producing the greatest Tragedy Paper in the school’s history.
Join the conversation: #tragedypaper
Winter 2012-2013 Kids’ Indie Next List
Amazon Best Books of the Month – January 2013
Spotlight Pick – best Young Adult – January 2013
Activities for Grandparents and Grandchildren by Elizabeth LaBan
With Nana Barbara Trostler and Grandpa Myron Laban
Dozens of Activities for Grandparents and Grandchildren, Including:
• Scavenger Hunts
• Fruit Cobblers
• Bath-Time Fun
• Indoor Camping
• Backyard Olympics
• Yard Sales
• Creating a Family Newspaper
• Ice Cream
• Museum Trips
• Apple Crumb Pies
• Road Trips
• Hunting Four-Leaf Clovers
• Gingerbread Houses
• Homemade Pickles
• Fuse Beads
And much, much more!
Elizabeth LaBan lives in Philadelphia with her restaurant critic husband and two children. She is the author of The Restaurant Critic’s Wife, Not Perfect, and Pretty Little World, which she co-authored with Melissa DePino. She also wrote the young adult novel The Tragedy Paper, published by Knopf, which has been translated into eleven foreign languages, and The Grandparents Handbook, published by Quirk Books, which has been translated into seven foreign languages. Her next novel Beside Herself will be published on October 22, 2019.
She is a freelance writer and editor whose work has appeared in The Philadelphia Inquirer, New York Newsday and The Times-Picayune, among other publications. She also ghost writes a weekly column, and has ghost written two books.
She has a master’s in journalism from Columbia University, and a bachelor’s in English from Trinity College in Hartford. Elizabeth was an NBC Page, worked at NBC News in New York, taught writing at the University of Pennsylvania, taught journalism at a community college in New Orleans, and was a reporter at a number of small to mid-sized newspapers including The Riverdale Press before she began writing books.