Date Published: May 2016
The Best of Families is the revelatory midlife memoir of a Philadelphia socialite, Francis Hopkinson Delafield. Uncomfortable with the mores of one of the city’s oldest families, Fran begins his story the summer after he graduates from prep school, when he dutifully marries his pregnant French Canadian girlfriend only to have her disappear within months of their marriage. Disillusioned and angry at the whole world, Fran quits college and enlists in the army. He is badly wounded in a war that no one seems to know or care about, and upon returning home from Vietnam, he is confronted with navigating the roiled waters of a second marriage while both his parents and his wives hold secrets that alter his life forever.
Praise for The Best of Families:
“With wit and compassion, The Best of Families captures perfectly the floundering of WASP society at mid-20th century. Trapped in the empty rituals of an upper crust that is well past its sell-by date, young Fran Delafield struggles to free himself from family and tradition. Love, the war in Vietnam and fatherhood turn out to be his path to an authentic life, and his salvation. Harry Groome interweaves romance and tragedy in this lively, evocative novel.” — Rebecca Pepper Sinkler, former Editor of the New York Times Book Review
“…a heartfelt, captivating read, packed with familial politics and strife.” — Kirkus Reviews
“A wonderful, fascinating, tragic and ultimately redemptive story that begs to be told.” — Ellen Lesser, author of The Shoplifter’s Apprentice
“Not only is The Best of Families a page-turner, but the story truly moved me, and haunts me still.” — Chase Twichell, author of Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been: New & Selected Poems
“…a great read that makes a convincing and timeless case for the power of the individual—the power to build your own happiness out of the unwieldy materials you've been handed.” — David Ebenbach, author of Into the Wilderness
“One of the great pleasures of life is a good book that tells a story so compelling that when you put the book down, you can’t wait to pick it up again. For me, The Best of Families is such a book…(it) blew me away with its believable razor-sharp dialogue and compelling plot…” — Len Lear, editor, the Chestnut Hill Local
My Family; Our Story
About the Author
Harry Groome is the author of the novels Wing Walking and Thirty Below and the award-winning Stieg Larsson parody The Girl Who Fished with a Worm. Harry was a finalist for the William Faulkner Short Story Awards and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. His short stories, poems, and articles have appeared in dozens of magazines and anthologies, including Gray's Sporting Journal, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Descant, and Detroit Magazine. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and holds an MFA in Writing from the Vermont College of Fine Arts.