Smith, one of England's most popular authors, won the Whitbread Award for this remarkable novel. When a pretty young woman named Amber arrives at the Norfolk summer home of the Smart family in need of a place to stay, they take her in. Eve and Michael Smart are vacationing with Eve's children Astrid, 12, and Magnus, 17. Amber quickly befriends the rebellious Astrid, who likes to film everything in sight with her digital video camera, and easily charms geeky Magnus, a math expert. She even wins over their self-satisfied stepfather, Michael, an English professor who likes to seduce his students. Eve, a writer of cheap novels, has become accustomed to Michael's adulterous ways and is indifferent to his growing affection for Amber. Indeed, Michael falls in love with the mysterious young woman so deeply that he considers giving everything up for her. Told from the perspectives of all four family members, as well as that of Amber, The Accidental is a small tour-de-force, powerful and unrelenting in its look at a family forever altered by the unexpected arrival of a stranger. Smith, author of the acclaimed Hotel World (2001), has a growing reputation, and it's easy to see why.

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