Jonathan Dee’s A Thousand Pardons extract

Extract published on May 28, 2013.

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Ben and Helen Armstead have reached breaking point. Once a privileged and loving couple, widely envied and respected, it takes just one afternoon – and a single act of recklessness – for Ben to deal the final blow to their marriage, spectacularly demolishing everything they built together.

Separated from her husband, Helen and her teenage daughter Sara leave their family home for Manhattan, where Helen must build a new life for them both. Thrust back into the working world, Helen takes a job in PR – her first in many years – and discovers she has a rare gift: she can convince arrogant men to admit their mistakes, spinning crises into second chances.

Faced with the fallout from her own marriage, and her daughter’s increasingly distant behaviour, Helen finds that the capacity for forgiveness she nurtures so successfully in her professional life is far harder to apply to her personal one.

A Thousand Pardons is an elegant, audacious, gripping and sharply observed novel about a marriage in ruins and a family in crisis; about the limits of self-invention and the seduction of self-destruction.

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