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Patricia's new novel is forthcoming from BETTY BOOKS, an imprint of WHY THERE ARE WORDS PRESS. Pub date in October 2024. 


A Sad Thought You Can Dance To is a quintessentially American story of immigration, baseball, and the legacy of political activism in one Chicago family. 


Set in Pilsen, a Chicago neighborhood settled by wave after wave of immigrants, the novel chronicles the joys and sorrows of the March family, Vic and Emma March, their grown daughters Sophie and Liz, Sophie's Latino activist husband, and Uncle Leo, 90-year-old Dominican monk who is going to trial for civil disobedience.  


A Sad Thought You Can Dance To opens on the evening of the 9/11 attacks. They think it's the worst thing that could happen, and shortly they begin devising ways to cope.  


— Vic (owner of a hole-in-the-wall baseball memorabilia shop) considers buying gas masks for the family and stockpiling food.


— Grade school teacher Emma craves summer travel. She has the novelty-seeking gene and sees no reason to abandon that passion.


— Both visual artists, Sophie and Luis want to make a baby and continue living the bohemian life, small b, on the third floor of the house they share with her parents.  


— Liz, Sophie's estranged sister,  is terrified of going back to work as a flight attendant, and she lies about whether she has actually quit her job.  


The narrative springs forward to early May. Luis Gonzales, Sophie's talented activist husband with a big heart, is murdered on the street in front of their home. 


Everything changes radically as a result of that one act of violence. Lily Gorsky, the peripheral narrator, documents how the March family members fly apart and find their way back to each other in the wake of Luis's death. 


Hummingbird House

Hummingbird House is the story of Kate Banner, an American midwife who travels to Central America for a brief visit with her dearest friend. But the visit turns into eight years. When we meet Kate in Nicaragua she unexpectedly loses a patient, a young woman who has given birth the night before in the aftermath of Hurricane Joan. At the woman's death, Kate decides it is time to go home.

Other Heartbreaks

Of Other Heartbreaks, Margot Livesey wrote: " . . . Patricia Henley once again displays her great gifts as a storyteller. She can capture the telling moment in a phrase, conjure a character onto the page with a single piercing sentence. This collection, full of glittering insights and moral complexity, rewards the reader's attention in the best way."  

In the River Sweet

One long, humid summer brings Ruth Anne Bond unexpected communiques, including one she has both dreaded and craved for thirty years. As hidden truths threaten to emerge, for the first time in her marriage she is faced with memories she and her husband never discuss: a year spent in Saigon in 1968 and a past she has yet to acknowledge.