MADELINE STEVENS reads from her debut novel DEVOTION

Devotion (Ecco)

Envy escalates into obsession in this tense and suspenseful debut novel that expertly dissects class, privilege, and the dangers inherent in easy intimacy. Ella, a young New York City nanny, seeks to discover the secret behind her employer’s perfect life, her jealousy quickly becoming infatuation.  

Ella is flat broke: wasting away on bodega coffee, barely making rent, seducing the occasional strange man who might buy her dinner. Unexpectedly, an Upper East Side couple named Lonnie and James rescue her from her empty bank account, offering her a job as a nanny and ushering her into their moneyed world. Ella’s days are now spent tending to the baby in their elegant brownstone or on extravagant excursions with the family. Both women are just 26—but unlike Ella, Lonnie has a doting husband and son, unmistakable artistic talent, and old family money.

Ella is mesmerized by Lonnie’s girlish affection and disregard for the normal boundaries of friendship and marriage. Convinced there must be a secret behind Lonnie’s seemingly effortless life, Ella begins sifting through her belongings, meticulously cataloguing lipstick tubes and baby teeth and scraps of writing. All the while, Ella’s resentment grows, but so does an inexplicable and dizzying attraction. Soon Ella will be immersed so deeply in her cravings—for Lonnie’s lifestyle, her attention, her lovers—that she may never come up for air.

Devotion is inspired by the seven years Madeline Stevens spent working as a New York City nanny. Riveting, propulsive, and startling, this masterful debut novel incinerates our perceptions of femininity, lust, and privilege.

Praise for Devotion

Devotion is a dangerous novel—sharp, glittering, and sexy—and Madeline Stevens is a significant new talent. I read this story of obsession, friendship, and betrayal with my heart in my throat, captivated by Ella’s increasing absorption into the privileged lives of the couple who hires her.” — Julie Buntin, author of Marlena

“Madeline Stevens has written a thrilling, evocative book about intimacy, identity, and the alien nature lodged at the heart of the people we think we know the best.” — Alexandra Kleeman, author of You Too Can Have A Body Like Mine

Devotion is frighteningly perceptive about the ways women see each other, use each other, hurt each other. Madeline Stevens’ debut novel dares to let jealousy and obsession lead its characters to the places we fear most.”— Rebecca Schiff, The Bed Moved

Madeline Stevens is a writer from Boring, Oregon currently based in Los Angeles. She holds an MFA from Columbia University her work has been published in a variety of literary magazines. Devotion is her first novel.

Author photo by Michael Assous

Event date: 
Thursday, August 29, 2019 - 7:30pm
Event address: 
1818 N Vermont Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90027
Devotion: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062883223
Availability: Not in stock. Available To Order.
Published: Ecco - August 13th, 2019