a novel by
Best Beloved begins in the years before the First World War. It's a portrait of a Massachusetts family--doubtless no different from many, but full of secrets and hidden hostility--seen through the eyes of a daughter named Gwen. As Gwen reaches adolescence she gradually ventures outside its confines, all in the shadow of the war in Europe and the debate about American involvement. The war becomes part of her life when America enters the war and a brother and a lover are sent to the European front, and her father is imprisoned for joining Emma Goldman in encouraging young men to resist the draft. A beautifully written novel that feels surprisingly contemporary.
Robert Bissell is a retired pediatrician. He has written a previous book, Stock Market: You Can Do It! Best Beloved is his first novel.