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Publisher's Summary

Once again Sue Miller takes us deep into the private lives of women with this mesmerizing portrait of two marriages exposed in all their shame and imperfection, and in their obdurate, unyielding love.
Meri is newly married, pregnant, and standing on the cusp of her life as a wife and mother, recognizing with some terror the gap between reality and expectation.
Delia Naughton, wife of the two-term liberal senator Tom Naughton, is Meri's new neighbor in the adjacent New England town house. Delia's husband's chronic infidelity has been an open secret in Washington circles, but despite the complexity of their relationship, the bond between them remains strong.
What keeps people together, even in the midst of profound betrayal? How can a journey imperiled by, and sometimes indistinguishable from, compromise and disappointment culminate in healing and grace? Delia and Meri find themselves leading strangely parallel lives, both reckoning with the contours and mysteries of marriage, one refined and abraded by years of complicated intimacy, the other barely begun.
Here are all the things for which Sue Miller has always been beloved: the complexity of experience precisely rendered, the richness of character and emotion, and the superb economy of style, fused with an utterly engrossing story.
©2008 Sue Miller (P)2008 Random House, Inc.
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Critic Reviews

"Provocative.... Miller brings into stark yet uplifting relief the limitations of morality when confronted with love." ( Kirkus Reviews)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Babs on 01-17-08

I felt cheated

I was completely engaged by this story until the very disturbing ending, which made me feel cheated. The relationship between the two neighbors in the novel -- one a newlywed in her late 30s, the other a woman of about 75 who has had an unorthodox marriage to a prominent politician -- is very rich and compelling. The often irritating younger character, Meri (does this woman ever think of the consequences of anything she does?), blossoms within the friendship, and the older character, Delia, is fascinating -- as fiercely loyal as she is independent.
But what Miller decides to do with these women and their husbands at the end of the book is disturbing and distasteful -- without revealing the ending, I can say that I felt as if the time and energy I invested in these characters was wasted. I'm giving it three stars because parts of it are wonderful, but I honestly felt betrayed as a reader/listener at the end.

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9 of 9 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Pamela Harvey on 01-12-08

Daring and Inspiring

If this were only a basic tale of the devolution and redemption of two marriages and two women it would be enough, written with Sue Miller's skillful rendering of detail and sensitive exploration of emotional nuance. But Miller punctuates the situations with a moment of daring that is truly original, that elevates this novel from the realm of a simple still life into a powerful and affirming narrative that inspires and empowers. Brava!

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13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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