Finding Mrs. Ford: A Novel (Hardcover)
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On a sunny summer morning by the sea in New England, Susan Ford’s cocoon of privilege is threatened when an Iraqi man from her distant past boards a plane in Baghdad to come find her.
Mrs. Ford leads a privileged life. From her Blenheim spaniels to her cottage on the coast of Watch Hill, Rhode Island, she carefully curates her world. Hair in place, house in place, life in place, Susan Ford keeps it under control.
Early one morning in the summer of 2014, the past pays a call to collect. The FBI arrives to question her about a man from Iraq—a Chaldean Christian from Mosul—where ISIS has just seized control. Sammy Fakhouri, they say, is his name and they have taken him into custody, picked up on his way to her house.
Back in the summer of 1979, on the outskirts of a declining Detroit, college coed Susan meets charismatic and reckless Annie. They are an unlikely pair of friends but they each see something in the other—something they’d like to possess. Studious Susan is a moth to the flame that is Annie. Yet, it is dazzling Annie who senses that Susan will be the one who makes it out of Detroit.
Together, the girls navigate the minefields of a down-market disco where they work their summer jobs. It’s a world filled with pretty girls and powerful men, some of whom—like Sammy Fakhouri—happen to be Iraqi Chaldeans.
What happened in that summer of 1979 when Susan and Annie met? Why is Sammy looking for Susan all these years later? And why is Mrs. Ford lying?
About the Author
Deborah Goodrich Royce launched her acting career in 1982 in the lead role of Silver Kane (sister of the legendary Erica Kane) on ABC’s All My Children. She went on to star in dozens of feature films, television series, and TV movies. In the ’90s, Deborah was the story editor at Miramax Films, overseeing readers, manuscript acquisitions, and script development; editing such notable screenplays as Emma by Doug McGrath. Deborah and a writing partner won a grant from the Massachusetts Arts Council in 2002 to develop and workshop their screenplay, Susan Taft Has Run Amok.
With her husband, Chuck, Deborah restored the 1939 Avon Theatre in Stamford, CT. Under her leadership, the Avon hosts an ongoing series of speakers, most recently, Marcus Zusak, Richard Gere and Chloe Sevigny. Deborah serves on the national council of the American Film Institute, the executive board of the Greenwich International Film Festival, the international council of the Preservation Society of Newport, and the governing boards of New York Botanical Garden, the Greenwich Historical Society, and the PRASAD Project. Deborah and Chuck have a tribe of children, stepchildren, grandchildren and animals. Finding Mrs. Ford is her first novel.
"Something about the flashbacks—from staid, starchy Watch Hill, RI, in 2014, to big, bad Detroit in 1979—made it feel sexy and a little dangerous...the story is a fun one, with a nifty twist midway."
— The New York Times
"Royce, an actress and a story editor for Miramax, imbues her debut novel with plenty of drama, suspense, and sharp observations. [...] A compelling, well-written thriller with an effective, twisty plot."
— Kirkus Reviews
"Royce draws you into her plot via her dazzling treatment of this setting, and other equally well-drawn locales, including disco-era suburban Detroit, which figures heavily in the plot as well. This novel, which is Royce's first, features equally three-dimensional characters and plot twists that are engaging and original as well. Once you've enjoyed Finding Mrs. Ford, you'll find yourself expecting more great things from this author, as am I."
"In this absorbing debut, Deborah Goodrich Royce takes readers on a twisty, mesmerizing journey between the rarefied world of Watch Hill, Rhode Island and the warring of gangsters of 1970s suburban Detroit, as a grieving widow is forced to confront the consequences of a fateful summer thirty-five years earlier. Brimming with vivid characters and emotional insight, Finding Mrs. Ford tackles big themes of identity, friendship, and loss, spinning out the suspense to the last page. A total triumph."
— Beatriz Williams, New York Times bestselling author of "The Summer Wives"
"Deborah Goodrich Royce's gripping and relatable literary suspense novel Finding Mrs. Ford unravels the decades-old secret behind an otherwise perfect life... The novel's payoff is a thrilling twist that comes late in the book. As Susan accepts that the truth will cost her everything's she's known, her memories of 1979 become more vibrant, violent, and graphic. The real thrill of Finding Mrs. Ford comes from reconciling the person Susan says she is with the girl she used to be."
— Foreword Reviews
"An impressively original, immediately engaging and thoroughly entertaining novel by an author with a distinctive narrative storytelling style."
— Midwest Book Review
"In her literary debut, Deborah Goodrich Royce has given us the sort of thriller that wants to be devoured in one sitting. Written from start to finish with crisp and poignant prose, compelling characters and setting, Finding Mrs. Ford entertains as much with imagery as with its masterful plot twists. I couldn't put it down."
— Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg, Author of "Eden" and "The Nine"
"The plot propels forward in unexpected ways—connecting the past and present with an ending that I didn't see coming. If you are seeking a beach read that is impossible to put down, look no further than Finding Mrs. Ford. I was hooked from the very first page."
— Sarah Vickers, Classy Girls Wear Pearls, Co-found Kiel James Patrick
"Deborah Royce's first novel, Finding Mrs. Ford is a treat—an exquisitely written literary thriller that compels the reader forward right to the last page and makes one hope she is writing a second and third novel."
— Patricia Chadwick, Author of "Little Sister: A Memoir"
"I tore right through the early galley of Finding Mrs. Ford by Deborah Goodrich Royce this past weekend. This is a thriller set in wealthy Watch Hill, RI and blighted suburbs of Detroit, MI, alternating between the late 1970s and present day, with an incredible twist in the middle that will take your breath away. Written with such self-control and calculating precision, Royce has done an excellent job of keeping us glued to the pages as the characters expose themselves in their intricate lives, and lies. A superb debut!"
— Annie Philbrick