“An engrossing, believable, gracefully written family drama that reveals our past’s bare-knuckle grip on our present.”

– Emma Donoghue, author of Room


Jan Ellison

Welcome to Jan Ellison’s web site. Jan’s debut novel, A Small Indiscretion, will be published by Random House in February, 2015. The novel fixes an unflinching eye on the power of desire and the danger of obsession as it unfolds the story of one woman’s reckoning with a youthful mistake.

Annie Black trades a bleak future in a washed-out suburb of Los Angeles for a London winter of drinking to oblivion, yearning for deliverance, and looking for love in all the wrong places. Some two decades later, she is married to a good man and settled in San Francisco, with a son and two daughters, and a successful career designing artistic interior lights. One June morning, a photograph arrives in her mailbox, igniting an old longing and setting off a chain of events that rocks the foundations of her marriage and threatens to overturn her family’s hard won happiness.

The novel interrogates the nature of memory as it moves between Annie’s present life in San Francisco and that distant winter in Europe. The two worlds converge, then explode, when the adult Annie flies to London seeking answers, her indiscretions come to light, and an early morning phone call brings shocking news of her son. Now she must fight to save her family by confronting her own transgressions and piecing together the mystery of her past—the fateful collision of liberation, abandon and sexual desire that drew an invisible map of her future.

A Small Indiscretion is a riveting debut novel about a woman’s search for understanding and forgiveness, a taut exploration of a modern marriage, and of love—the kind that destroys, and the kind that redeems.