Authors: Claire Lombardo
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2019 by Claire Lombardo
All rights reserved. Published in the United States by Doubleday, a division of Penguin Random House LLC, New York, and distributed in Canada by Random House of Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited, Toronto.
DOUBLEDAY and the portrayal of an anchor with a dolphin are registered trademarks of Penguin Random House LLC.
Cover art by Joël Penkman/Handsome Frank Ltd (based on a photograph by Patrizia Savarese/Getty Images)
Cover design by Emily Mahon
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data
Names: Lombardo, Claire, 1988– author.
Title: The most fun we ever had : a novel / by Claire Lombardo.
Description: First edition. | New York : Doubleday, 
Identifiers: LCCN 2018036701 | ISBN 9780385544252 (hardcover) | ISBN 9780385544269 (ebook) | ISBN 9780385545419 (open market)
Classification: LCC PS3612.O453 M67 2019 | DDC 813/.6—dc23
LC record available at
Ebook ISBN 9780385544269
For Sally and Tony Lombardo,
MY MOM AND DAD
April 15, 2000
Sixteen years earlier
Other people overwhelmed her. Strange, perhaps, for a woman who’d added four beings to the universe of her own reluctant volition, but a fact nonetheless: Marilyn rued the inconvenient presence of bodies, bodies beyond her control, her understanding; bodies beyond her favor. She rued them now, from her shielded spot beneath the ginkgo tree, where she was hiding from her guests. She’d always had that knack for entertaining, but it drained her, fully, time and time again, decades of her father’s wealthy clients and her husband’s humorless colleagues; of her children’s temperamental friends; of her transitory neighbors and ever-shifting roster of customers. And yet, today: a hundred-odd near strangers in her backyard, humans in motion, staying in motion, formally clad; tipsy celebrants of the union of her eldest daughter, Wendy, people who were her responsibility for this evening, when she already had so much on her plate—not literally, for she’d neglected to take advantage of the farm-fresh menu spread over three extra-long card tables, but elementally—four girls for whose presences she was biologically and socially responsible, polka-dotting the lawn in their summer pastels. The fruits of her womb, implanted repeatedly by the sweetness of her husband, who was currently nowhere to be found. She’d fallen into motherhood without intent, producing a series of daughters with varying shades of hair and varying degrees of unease. She, Marilyn Sorenson, née Connolly—a resilient product of money and tragedy, from dubious socioemotional Irish-Catholic lineage but now, for all intents and purposes, as functional as they come: an admirably natural head of dirty-blond hair, marginally conversant in both literary criticism and the lives of her children, wearing a fitted forest green sheath that exposed the athletic curve of her calves and the freckled landscape of her shoulders. People kept referring to her with great drama as the
mother of the bride,
and she was trying to act the part, trying to pretend that she wasn’t focused almost exclusively on the well-being of her children, none of whom, that particular evening, seemed to be thriving.