Just finished reading Ann Patchett's latest, "Commonwealth." She is always a joy to read. I think I read that she based some of this on her own life experiences. From reading her other books, I know that her father was a policeman in LA. She had four step-siblings. Her mother and her step-father moved to the eastern part of the country from LA. Her mother and her step-father divorced after many years together and her mother remarried. I think the rest of the story is made-up. This was an excellent novel by one of the best writers around.
The story begins with Fanny's christening in LA. Her future step-father is a DA, and he is at the party of an LA policeman. He falls in love with the policeman's wife and moves her and her small children to the commonwealth of Virginia. Fanny has an older sister, Caroline. Their father sends them the Kaplan LSAT to encourage them to study to become lawyers for Christmas while they are in high school. Their father is now in law school in LA. Every summer their step-siblings come to Virginia for the summer to live with them. Makes for interesting summers. This book is the story of the blended families, their parents and future generations.