HOW TO TELL TOLEDO FROM THE NIGHT SKY (St. Martin's Press, 2014)by Lydia Netzer, the award-winning author of Shine Shine Shine, weaves a mind-bending, heart-shattering love story that asks, “Can true love exist if it’s been planned from birth?” Like a jewel shimmering in a Midwest skyline, the Toledo Institute of Astronomy is the nation's premier center of astronomical discovery and a beacon of scientific learning for astronomers far and wide. Here, dreamy cosmologist George Dermont mines the stars to prove the existence of God. Here, Irene Sparks, an unsentimental scientist, creates black holes in captivity. George and Irene are on a collision course with love, destiny and fate. They have everything in common: both are ambitious, both passionate about science, both lonely and yearning for connection. The air seems to hum when they’re together. But George and Irene’s attraction was not written in the stars. In fact their mothers, friends since childhood, raised them separately to become each other's soulmates. When that long-secret plan triggers unintended consequences, the two astronomers must discover the truth about their destinies, and unravel the mystery of what Toledo holds for them—together or, perhaps, apart.
A debut unlike any other, SHINE, SHINE, SHINE is a shocking, searing, breathless love story, a gripping portrait of modern family, and a stunning exploration of love, death and what it means to be human.
Sunny Mann has masterminded a life for herself and her family in a quiet Virginia town. Her house and her friends are picture-perfect. Even her genius husband has been trained to pass for normal. But when a fender bender on an average day sends her coiffed blonde wig sailing out the window, her secret is exposed. Not only is she bald, Sunny is nothing like the Stepford wife she’s trying to be. As her facade begins to unravel, we discover the singular world of Sunny, an everywoman searching for the perfect life on earth, and her husband Maxon, an astronaut on his way to colonize the moon.
Theirs is a wondrous, strange relationship formed of dark secrets, decades-old murders and the urgent desire for connection. As children, the bald, temperamental Sunny and the neglected savant Maxon found an unlikely friendship no one else could understand. She taught him to feel helped him translate his intelligence for numbers into a language of emotion. He saw her spirit where others saw only a freak. As they grew into adults, their profound understanding blossomed into love and marriage.
But with motherhood, Sunny craved a normalcy that started with hiding her baldness but began to strangle her marriage and family. When Sunny and Maxon are on the brink of destruction, at each other’s throats with blame and fear of how they’ve lost their way, Maxon departs for the moon, where he’s charged with programming the robots that will build the fledgling colony. Just as the car accident jars Sunny out of her wig and into an awareness of what she really needs, a meteor hits Maxon’s rocket, threatening everything they’ve built, revealing everything they’ve kept hidden…and nothing will ever be the same.