Reading The Daughters of Erietown for your next book club? Invite author Connie Schultz to join!


About the Book

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Hidden desires, long-held secrets, and the sacrifices people make for family are at the heart of this powerful first novel by the popular Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist.

“A moving, unforgettable story about time, progress, and how the mistakes of one generation get repeated or repaired by the next.”—J. Courtney Sullivan, New York Times bestselling author of Saints for All Occasions

1957, Clayton Valley, Ohio. Ellie has the best grades in her class. Her dream is to go to nursing school and marry Brick McGinty. A basketball star, Brick has the chance to escape his abusive father and become the first person in his blue-collar family to attend college. But when Ellie learns that she is pregnant, everything changes. Just as Brick and Ellie revise their plans and build a family, a knock on the front door threatens to destroy their lives.

The evolution of women’s lives spanning the second half of the twentieth century is at the center of this beautiful novel that richly portrays how much people know—and pretend not to know—about the secrets at the heart of a town, and a family.

Under the Cover


Chapter 1


Ada Fetters walked to the kitchen table and set down her laundry basket with the sigh of an expired hope. The morning’s conversation with her youngest son grew heavier with each passing hour. I raised that boy to be better than this. I raised him, and I failed.

She walked to the window over the sink and searched for her husband. Wayne was stepping off the tractor, and she could hear him whistling for Sheba. The dog ran to Wayne’s side and leapt for the last piece of beef jerky in his hand. Wayne rubbed the dog’s head, and both of them turned toward the house with the red sun behind them, two shadows walking into bad news.

She went over to the stove and flipped the chicken pieces sizzling in the skillet, scraping bits of char from the sides. This pan had helped her raise four kids. She had cooked with it every day for more than forty years, and brandished it countless times to bring a shaky peace to the Fetters household.

Larry was the problem. Always had been. And now this.

Wayne pushed open the back door, followed by the tap-tap-tap of Sheba’s nails on the hardwood floor. “Go see Mommy,” he said, chuckling. “Go see what she’s got for ya.” The dog raced across the room and slid to a stop at the stove, her fat tail thumping against Ada’s legs.

“Sit,” Ada said. “Sit, girl.” She picked up the boiled chicken heart on the stove and popped it into the dog’s mouth.

Wayne walked up behind her and kissed her neck. “Anything for me?”

“Supper’s almost ready.” She wiped her hands on her apron and reached for the two plates they used every night for dinner, her mind full of the changes her husband didn’t even know were coming. She’d be stacking three plates soon, setting another place. She looked over at Wayne and let out a long, slow breath.

Connie Schultz


Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and a professional-in-residence in the journalism school at Kent State University, her alma mater. She is the author of two memoirs, Life Happens and …And His Lovely Wife. Schultz lives in Cleveland with her husband, Sherrod Brown, and their rescue dogs Franklin and Walter. They have four children and seven grandchildren.