The London Train by Tessa Hadley
Two seemingly unconnected stories. The reader first meets Paul, a middle-aged husband and father to three girls, the oldest, Pia, from his first marriage. Shortly after the death of Paul’s mother, Pia seems to go missing. Paul eventually finds her in central London, pregnant and sharing an apartment with her Polish lover and his sister. Paul abandons his wife and two smaller children to move in with Pia in London. The story then switches over to Cora, a young wife who has also recently lost her parents and is a partner in a crumbling marriage. Cora slowly drifts away from her husband and she leaves their London flat to redecorate her parents old house in Cardiff.
The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
First set in the 60’s, Simon introduces the reader to all three main characters when their worlds collide in the opening chapter. Lynnie, Buddy, and Lynnie’s newborn daughter, stumble onto Martha’s farm in Pennsylvania. They are running from the local “school”. Lynnie has been institutionalized because of a developmental disorder and Buddy because he is deaf. The school is an awful place and they have made plans to escape before the birth of Lynnie’s daughter. But soon after their arrival on Martha’s farm, they are found by authorities. Buddy manages to escape but Lynnie is taken back to the school. But not before she tells Martha to hide her daughter. So the story unfolds of the journey after Lynnie is sent back to the school and Martha begins to raise Julia. Told from different character’s points of view over the course of decades.