This was one of those books that got lost in the shuffle due to the fact that our doors weren't open for me to share it with you. Let's try this again now that the paperback is out. What an extraordinary family saga! I stayed up late several nights in a row because I simply could not put it down. The story focuses on a family: mother, father, two sisters, and a brother. It takes place in Thailand in the 1970s when the children were young and spans the decades to 2019 Washington D.C. The family is shredded by a tragedy in the 1970s and the lies and hidden secrets that reverberate from this one event change their lives forever. There is also a mystery element. This book is unique, but the prose and the quiet dread that explodes with unexpected confrontations and revelations brings to mind A Little Life, The Sheltering Sky, Euphoria, Tangerine, and other favorite books of mine. I cannot recommend it more highly. Extraordinary!— From Kelly
January 2021 Indie Next List
“Wow. What a riveting read! Part family saga, part mystery, What Could Be Saved is just extraordinary. It is a moving, powerful story of loss and regret, loyalty and redemption. Schwarz’s crisp, lyrical prose lays bare the emotional journey of each member of this unforgettable family. These beautifully drawn, tragically flawed characters will remain with me long after turning the last page.”
— Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL
When a mysterious man claims to be her long-missing brother, a woman must confront her family’s closely guarded secrets in this “delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance” (Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author).
Washington, DC, 2019: Laura Preston is a reclusive artist at odds with her older sister Beatrice as their elegant, formidable mother slowly slides into dementia. When a stranger contacts Laura claiming to be her brother who disappeared forty years earlier when the family lived in Bangkok, Laura ignores Bea’s warnings of a scam and flies to Thailand to see if it can be true. But meeting him in person leads to more questions than answers.
Bangkok, 1972: Genevieve and Robert Preston live in a beautiful house behind a high wall, raising their three children with the help of a cadre of servants. In these exotic surroundings, Genevieve strives to create a semblance of the life they would have had at home in the US—ballet and riding classes for the children, impeccable dinner parties, a meticulously kept home. But in truth, Robert works for American intelligence, Genevieve finds herself drawn into a passionate affair with her husband’s boss, and their serene household is vulnerable to unseen dangers in a rapidly changing world and a country they don’t really understand.
Alternating between past and present as all of the secrets are revealed, What Could Be Saved is an unforgettable novel about a family broken by loss and betrayal, and “a richly imagined page-turner that delivers twists alongside thought-provoking commentary” (Kirkus Reviews).
About the Author
Liese O’Halloran Schwarz, a former emergency medicine doctor, published her first novel Near Canaan while still in medical school. She is also the author of the acclaimed novel The Possible World and the forthcoming What Could Be Saved. She currently lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Praise for What Could Be Saved
"A delicious hybrid of mystery, drama, and elegance: rich with detail, lush in language, and capable of keeping you on the edge of your seat. " —Jodi Picoult, #1 New York Times bestselling author of A Spark of Light and Small Great Things
"What Could Be Saved transported me. Liese O'Halloran Schwarz’s exquisite and memorable writing has me still thinking about the ways in which the past influences the present, the complexities of family life, and the ways we negotiate challenges, tragedies, and secrets." —Lisa See, New York Times bestselling author of The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane
“Superb...Schwarz is a remarkable storyteller...[This] stellar work is riveting.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
"Immersive, profoundly moving, and gorgeously told... an unforgettable reading experience." —Laura Sims, author of Looker
"A gripping story of a family unraveling and the sibling love that ultimately endures. A great read.”—Jessica Francis Kane, author of Rules for Visiting
“A richly imagined page-turner that delivers twists alongside thought-provoking commentary." —Kirkus Reviews
“A rich, complex novel…and just the kind of book you want to sink into on a winter’s day.” –Real Simple, Top Picks
“Schwarz reveals all in compelling, 'can't put it down' prose while at the same time building masterfully developed characters.” —Booklist
“This brilliant portrayal of the lives of expats and their servants is also a suspenseful mystery with ever-darkening twists. For fans of A Little Life and The Goldfinch.” —People, Book of the Week