The Year Mrs. Cooper Got Out More
by Meredith Marple
Cinder Path Press

"Breezy and warm, the air carried the invigorating sweetness of newly cut grass and the oddly pleasing sound of power mowers getting it done. But as she neared the tourist-dependent downtown, the crush of people threatened to ruin her plans."

Mallory Cooper lives in the sleepy town of Great Wharf, Maine, where nothing ever happens. The most exciting news is a new store opening. The most dangerous crime spree is a recent string of shoplifting incidents. Yet Mallory finds herself growing more and more uneasy, faced with the debilitating fear that the world is not a safe place to be. She wasn't always like this—losing her job and watching her children move out on their own has left her despondent. To keep her relationship with her husband and friends from crumpling like her confidence, Mallory promises to get out more. On her quest to regain her self, Mallory grapples with a repressed childhood memory, tries to befriend her neighbors, and heads outside, one step at a time.

While Mallory embarks on her road to self-improvement, the residents of Great Wharf continue their everyday life. The narrative flits between characters to show the world from their point of view. It quickly becomes clear that the tranquility of Great Wharf is an illusion. Every character is coping with their own insecurities, tragedies, and personal struggles. And every character is connected in more ways than they realize. A chance encounter or an offhand remark can have a ripple effect on others. The novel begins with a story about an individual, then zooms out into a view of how this one person is part of a much larger web of connections. Underneath the calm surface of the town, a bigger tragedy is slowly brewing: Every day, we touch countless lives. The Year Mrs. Cooper Got Out More shows just how deep these connections can go.

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