The Understory

The Understory
The Understory
Elizabeth Leiknes

If Phoenix was a Jungle, Story Easton Lived in the Understory . . .

Story Easton knows the first line of every book, but never the last.

She never cries, but she fakes it beautifully.

And at night, she escapes from the failure of her own life by breaking into the homes of others, and feeling, for a short while, like a different, better person.

But one night, as an uninvited guest in someone’s empty room, she discovers a story sadder than her own: a boy named Cooper Payne, whose dream of visiting the Amazon rainforest and discovering the moonflower from his favorite book, Once Upon a Moonflower, died when his father did.

For reasons even she doesn’t entirely understand, Story decides that she will help Cooper and his mother. She will make his dream come true.

When the decision is made, the lives of other broken people start to come together: Hans Turner, the door-making magician who can’t shut the door on his past; Martin Baxter, the author of Cooper’s beloved book, who wrote it with the daughter he misses every day; and Claire Payne, Cooper’s mother, struggling to keep her son sheltered from the anger that threatens to consume her.

The Understory is a magical, moving, funny, and poignant story of failure and success; of falling apart and rebuilding; and of coincidences that never really are. Part comedy, part drama, and part fairy tale, Elizabeth Leiknes’s second novel is a wonder you won’t soon forget.

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