A Likely Story: A Novel (Hardcover)

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A Likely Story: A Novel By Leigh McMullan Abramson Cover Image

A Likely Story: A Novel (Hardcover)


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Staff Reviews

All 35 year-old Isabelle wants is a successful career as an author, like her father. Following her mother's death, she stumbles onto a family secret, revealed as she's sorting through her mother's belongings. Has her father been living a lie? A propulsive tale that touches on themes of identity and truth-telling, this one unravels in a way that will keep you up late at night reading.

— Patsy

CBS New York Book Club with Mary Calvi Pick

“A thoroughly modern story of family mistakes and redemption that I couldn’t put down.” —KJ Dell’Antonia, New York Times bestselling author

The only child of an iconic American novelist discovers a shocking tangle of family secrets that upends everything she thought she knew about her parents, her gilded childhood, and her own stalled writing career in this brilliantly observed standout debut.

Growing up in the nineties in New York City as the only child of famous parents was both a blessing and a curse for Isabelle Manning. Her beautiful society hostess mother, Claire, and New York Times bestselling author father, Ward, were the city’s intellectual It couple. Ward’s glamorous obligations often took him away from Isabelle, but Claire made sure her childhood was always filled with magic and love.

Now an adult, all Isabelle wants is to be a successful writer like her father but after many false starts and the unexpected death of her mother, she faces her upcoming thirty-fifth birthday alone and on the verge of a breakdown. Her anxiety only skyrockets when she uncovers some shocking truths about her parents and begins wondering if everything she knew about her family was all based on an elaborate lie.

Wry, wise, and propulsive, A Likely Story is punctuated with fragments of a compulsively readable book-within-a-book about a woman determined to steal back the spotlight from a man who has cheated his way to the top. The characters seem eerily familiar but is the plot based on fact? And more importantly, who is the author?
Leigh McMullan Abramson has worked as a lawyer and a journalist. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, and more. A Likely Story is her first novel. Leigh lives in New York City and Vermont with her husband and children.
Product Details ISBN: 9781982199241
ISBN-10: 1982199245
Publisher: Atria Books
Publication Date: March 14th, 2023
Pages: 352
Language: English
“Abramson’s clever debut… lands as a thought-provoking meditation on family.” Publishers Weekly

“In a novel largely about the creation of novels, McMullan Abramson avoids the pitfalls of jargony writing for the in-crowd and instead crafts a universal story about family, dreams, and the stories that linger long after we are gone. Complex characters weigh the benefits of sacrificing their morals to achieve a lasting legacy in this well-told tale.”Kirkus

"Wry, wise, and propulsive, A Likely Story is punctuated with fragments of a compulsively readable book-within-a-book about a woman determined to steal back the spotlight from a man who has cheated his way to the top."Belletrist


"A Likely Story expertly unpacks the lives of a famous author, his wife, and their daughter, alternating their narratives with a novel of unknown origin. A smart, keenly-observed look at celebrity, sacrifice, and secrets that is absolutely riveting."—Seira Wilson, Senior Editor of Amazon

“Told as a novel-within-a-novel, A Likely Story is a subtle unfolding of a life led living with a celebrity and the struggle to shine on one’s own merits.” Authorlink

“A dishy, sophisticated story about an aspiring novelist whose greatest influence (and hindrance) is her own famous father. Moving, enraging, and utterly romantic, A Likely Story is literary gold.” —Courtney Maum, author of The Year of the Horses

“Such a rich, clever story about the pitfalls of loving a celebrity.” —Tracey Lange, New York Times bestselling author of We Are the Brennans

"A Likely Story is a literary page-turner and a thoroughly modern story of family mistakes and redemption that I couldn’t put down." —KJ Dell'Antonia, New York Times bestselling author of The Chicken Sisters

"A standout debut about family, secrets, and the costs of protecting a precious legacy. Abramson skillfully captures the idiosyncrasies of the New York artistic elite and then rips the veil away, revealing characters who are raw, complex, and utterly unforgettable." Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Magnolia Palace

"I loved this sharp, multi-layered tale about the highly combustible relationship between love and ambition. Filled with family secrets, pitch-perfect details, and engagingly complex characters, it kept me hooked from page one." —Alexandra Andrews, author of Who is Maud Dixon

"In Abramson's psychologically rich and engrossing debut, the lives of New York literati are rendered in pitch-perfect, delicious detail, as a hidden manuscript exposes a web of family secrets—and inspires an audacious deception. A Likely Story is a testament to the power of fiction not just to imitate life, but to control it. I couldn't stop reading." —Jonathan Vatner, author of Carnegie Hill and The Bridesmaids Union