Book Sense National Bestsellers
- Source:East Oregonian (Pendleton, OR), March 2, 2008 Lifestyles, 1pp
Booklist Reviews 2007 November #2
*Starred Review* A recently married couple new to a New England college town purchases one-half of a "double house" because Nathan, a history professor, is thrilled to learn that the other half is owned by the famous, now retired senator Tom Naughton. But it seems that Delia, the senator's wife, lives alone. In her seventies, she is glamorous, charming, considerate, and armored to the teeth. Nathan's sly, smart, and moody wife, Meri, unnerved by her accidental pregnancy, becomes rather too intrigued with her secretive neighbor. Best-selling and impeccably literary Miller shrewdly contrasts the high drama of Delia and Tom's epically difficult marriage with the newlyweds' raw skirmishes, creating characters of intense interest and infusing everything thing they do with a kaleidoscopic array of meanings. Miller not only sharply illuminates the paradoxes of family life—the difficulty of sustaining one's autonomy in marriage, complicated love for one's children, brutal shifts in power, the grimness of old age—she also takes an askance view of Clintonian Washington and tests the thin membrane between private and public lives as she weighs the marathon demands on a politician's spouse. Miller's remarkable grasp of both grand passion and "the consolation of the daily" makes this an incandescent tale of betrayal and the perpetual divide between men and women, and a galvanizing novel of life's imperative "to use yourself up." Copyright 2007 Booklist Reviews.
LJ Reviews 2007 September #1
Just married and pregnant, Meri Fowler forges a bond with Delia Naughton, whose senator husband is a notorious runaround. With an 11-city tour; reading group guide. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.
LJ Reviews 2008 January #1
Meri, short for Meribeth, is going through some major changes: she just got married, moved to another state, and bought a new home. When she and her husband, Nathan, move into their New England townhouse, they learn that their neighbor, Delia Naughton, is the wife of the vaunted Sen. Tom Naughton. Delia is at the other end of the spectrum from Meri: her children are grown, and, for her, life is slowing down. Yet the two women hit it off and quickly become friends. Having their first child together teaches Meri and Nathan the nuances of married life; Meri, meanwhile, uncovers the mysteries of Delia and Tom's relationship. An intervening tragedy then causes a savage rift between Meri and Delia. Miller (The Good Mother ) has written an extremely powerful novel of women, marriage, and friendship. The characters are fascinating, the story engrossing, and the novel incredibly readable. Highly recommended for all collections. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/1/07.]—Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH[Page 86]. Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
PW Reviews 2007 November #1
Bestselling author Miller (The Good Mother ; When I Was Gone ) returns with a rich, emotionally urgent novel of two women at opposite stages of life who face parallel dilemmas. Meri, the young, sexy wife of a charismatic professor, occupies one wing of a New England house with her husband. An unexpected pregnancy forces her to reassess her marriage and her childhood of neglect. Delia, her elegant neighbor in the opposite wing, is the long-suffering wife of a notoriously philandering retired senator. The couple have stayed together for his career and still share an occasional, deeply intense tryst. The women's routines continue on either side of the wall that divides their homes, and the two begin to flit back and forth across the porch and into each others physical and psychological spaces. A steady tension builds to a bruising denouement. The clash, predicated on Delia's husband's compulsive behavior and on Meri's lack of boundaries, feels too preordained. But Miller's incisive portrait of the complex inner lives of her characters and her sharp manner of taking them through conflicts make for an intense read. (Jan.)[Page 43]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.