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?

Don't just take our word for it...

“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 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

Taste the very first page

New York, 1989

Claire stood with her back to the bar and surveyed the pulsating mass of people deeply pleased with themselves for being exactly where they were at exactly that moment. The party was an un-qualified success. She kept being congratulated, as if it took genius to send invitations, rent out a restaurant—even a hot one like Gotham—and tell her florist, it’s an avian theme, go wild. The maple branches growing out of birdcages were something, but Claire did not take pride in floral arrangements. As she and her husband had grown wealthy to the point of rich, Claire was wary of becoming one of those Upper East Side types who mistook purchased goods and services for accomplishment.

Claire had not read the book. As she nodded and smiled, agreeing with everyone about what a special, important novel it was, this secret blasphemy twinkled pleasantly inside her. Several yards away, the author was in the crowd, holding forth. The noise of the room was too loud for Claire to hear the specifics. After a decade of marriage, Claire couldn’t imagine there was a subject she had not heard Ward expound upon, but she studied him still. By his theatrical gestures and exaggerated facial expressions, he was drunk.

“Can we get these at home, Mommy?”

Claire turned toward Isabelle, who was sitting cross-legged on…