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The Divorcees

A novel by

“A rollicking thriller and poignant coming-of-age story.” ―People

"Timelier than ever." ―The Cut

A "delicious" (Rebecca Makkai) and "deeply compelling" (Lauren Groff) debut novel set at a 1950s Reno divorce ranch, about the complex friendship between two women who dare to imagine a different future

Lois Saunders thought that marrying the right man would finally cure her loneliness. But as picture-perfect as her husband is, she is suffocating in their loveless marriage. In 1951, though, unhappiness is hardly grounds for divorce—except in Reno, Nevada.

At the Golden Yarrow, the most respectable of Reno’s famous “divorce ranches,” Lois finds herself living with half a dozen other would-be divorcees, all in Reno for the six weeks’ residency that is the state’s only divorce requirement. They spend their days riding horses and their nights flirting with cowboys, and it’s as wild and fun as Lake Forest, Illinois, is prim and stifling. But it isn’t until Greer Lang arrives that Lois’s world truly cracks open. Gorgeous, beguiling, and completely indifferent to societal convention, Greer is unlike anyone Lois has ever met—and she sees something in Lois that no one else ever has. Under her influence, Lois begins to push against the limits that have always restrained her. How far will she go to forge her independence, on her own terms?

Set in the glamorous, dizzying world of 1950s Reno, where housewives and movie stars rubbed shoulders at gin-soaked casinos,
The Divorcees is a riveting page-turner and a dazzling exploration of female friendship, desire, and freedom.

Genre: Historical

Praise for this book

"The women of The Divorcees captivated me: drenched in desert light, searching for themselves in every possible mirror. Their relationships to one another, gorgeously rendered, have an intensity fueled by self-discovery-these are connections full of deep understanding, shocking deception, devastating betrayal, and real love. Beaird is a wondrous new talent who has given us an unforgettable, lushly assured novel." - Clare Beams

"If Patricia Highsmith and George Cukor teamed up to reimagine Thelma and Louise, it might look something like this smoldering, addictive, and beguiling novel of women on the verge. Whether they're on the verge of dissolution, liberation, or some fraught state in-between, Rowan Beaird captures their becoming in prose that thrums with an anxious and defiant eros. A knockout of a debut." - Christopher Castellani

"The Divorcees is gorgeously crafted, perfectly balanced, and full of complex, moving and vividly wrought characters. The sunshot pool at the Golden Yarrow, the searing desert heat, the dark glamour of the casinos will stay with me for a long time. Rowan Beaird writes with such ease and confidence that it's hard to believe this novel is her first. An excellent, deeply compelling read." - Lauren Groff

"The Divorcees is my favorite kind of novel: a beautifully written, wholly immersive exploration of the performances women employ for survival. Set amid the heady glamour of Reno's divorce ranches, The Divorcees mines what we will do for acceptance, belonging, and the privilege of carving out a life for ourselves. Rowan Beaird writes with both deep compassion and merciless precision-a fierce talent." - Katie Gutierrez

"A stunning debut, Rowan Beaird's The Divorcees is a glittering desert mirage behind which lurks a shocking web of secrets. Despite the new friendships and lives being built at the Golden Yarrow, each woman on the ranch harbors a truth they aren't willing to share: that they're playing a part and they're willing to do whatever it takes to keep the fiction alive. Tense, dark, and richly layered, lovers of Patricia Highsmith will devour this compulsively readable, standout novel." - Katy Hays

"The alluring and fascinating backdrop of a divorce ranch for women in the '50s is reason enough to dive into Rowan Beaird's stunning debut novel, The Divorcees, but that is just the beginning. This beautifully crafted, suspenseful journey of secrets and intrigue will hold readers spellbound." - Jill McCorkle

"This is the novel I've always wanted to read about divorce in midcentury America: the glamour and underbelly of Reno's divorce ranches, the support of female friendship, and the impossibility (and glorious possibilities) of starting over as a single woman. The Divorcees is a delicious literary page-turner from a fierce new voice." - Rebecca Makkai

"The Divorcees, a sultry fever dream of a novel set on a Reno divorce ranch in the 1950s, should be read by a pool on a blisteringly hot day, preferably with a drink in hand. Its lush, perfectly wrought prose-and the secrets and deceptions at the center of the seductive plot-will unsettle you and keep you turning the pages. This book shimmers and startles on every page." - Whitney Scharer

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