• February 2024
  • St. Martin's Griffin
  • Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle, eBook
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The Trouble With You

Sometimes life can change in a moment — not always for the worse.

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(Published by Pan MacMillan Australia as A Life of Her Own)

Set in New York City in the heady aftermath of World War II when the men were coming home, the women were exhaling in relief, and everyone was having babies, The Trouble With You is the story of a young woman whose rosy future is upended in a single instant.

Raised never to step out of bounds, educated in one of the Seven Sisters Colleges for a career as a wife and mother, torn between her cousin Mimi who is determined to keep her a "nice girl"—the kind that marries a doctor—and her aunt Rose who has a rebellious past of her own, Fanny struggles to raise her young daughter and forge a new life by sheer will and pluck.

When she gets a job as a secretary to the "queen" of radio serials—never to be referred to as 'soaps'—she discovers she likes working. Through her friendship with an actress who stars in the series and a man who writes them, Fanny comes face to face with the blacklist which is destroying careers and wrecking lives.

Ultimately, she must decide between playing it safe or doing what she knows is right in this vivid evocation of a world that seems at once light years away and strangely immediate.

Audio Sample

Here is an excerpt from the audio edition of The Trouble With You, as read by Kathryn Markey.

Other Editions

  • A Life of Her Own - Australian Edition

Reviews and Praise

"Feldman has created a compelling woman who knows her own mind and insists on using it... She does a fine job of evoking the 1950s, using language and cultural references to films, books, and, most of all, social mores to make the period spring to life... Fanny's search for who she wants to be evolves into a captivating love story, complicated by the career-destroying threats of the McCarthy era." Kirkus Reviews

"Rich in colorful characters, Feldman's riveting tale is one of resilience, determination, and hope." Booklist

"Ellen Feldman continues to supply characters that interest, juicy historical details, and expert pacing of a solid plotline... entertaining, quippy, and full of witty repartee. Readers will enjoy the retro, stylized feel to the characters' spoken interaction, which has the added benefit of creating historically accurate ambience with references to Philco television sets, Sardi's restaurant, and the like. If a promise of high-caliber historical fiction is to reveal the workings of our own time, The Trouble With You makes good. Mining the post-World War II era for its style, its social constrictions, and its political tensions, Ms. Feldman offers a historical romance with flair in all the right places." Easthampton Star

"An indelible novel suffused with heart and history, fresh, fast-paced, and exhilarating." Stacy Schiff, New York Times bestselling author

"When the war is over, young married women are divided into two distinct categories: the lucky wives whose husbands make it home, and the unfortunate widows whose husbands do not. When Fanny finds herself in the former category, she thinks she knows what kind of woman she will be, but before she has time to enjoy her good fortune, fate strikes an unfathomable blow. The Trouble with You is an inspiring and thoughtful exploration of female ambition... a compelling and insightful novel about women who want more than what their parents, their husbands, and their country tell them they are allowed to have." Lynda Cohen Loigman, bestselling author of The Matchmaker's Gift and The Two-Family House

"Emotionally compelling and gorgeously written, full of Feldman's trademark wit and wry observation, The Trouble With You is as addictive as the world of the 1950s soap operas in which the novel is set, and as serious and satisfying as the finest fiction being written today." Liza Gyllenhaal, author of A Place for Us and Local Knowledge

"A big hearted novel... It’s the NYC of automats and radio serials, the America where women are expected to stay home and raise kids. But Fanny finds independence, a career, and even love... I cheered for her every step of the way." Ann Hood, New York Times bestselling author of Fly Girl and The Knitting Circle

"Feldman is at the top of her game in The Trouble with You. She displays a perfect grasp of the postwar era, its politics, her characters, and the human heart. It is a masterful performance—and a great read." Kevin Baker, author of Dreamland

"A heartbreaking joy to read... this wonderful book is an ode to the power, resilience and ambition of women everywhere in any era." Jessica Anya Blau, author of Mary Jane

"A captivating read... Beguiling characters abound, in all senses of the word. At a time when book banning and threats of censorship are increasing, Feldman’s story reminds us of the human cost of the loss of freedom to believe, to read, and to write. A bonus: that a library, my very own, gets a star turn as Fanny's and Charlie's writer's haven, made this novel even more of a treat!" Carolyn Waters, Head Librarian, The New York Society Library

"I love this book in so many ways.... The descriptions of Charlie and Fanny working together amount to, for me, expert instruction in the craft of storytelling." Frederick E. Allen, former editor at New York, American Heritage, and Forbes