A novel first published in 1976, which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and tells the story of a middle-aged ordinary woman, who is seized by love for a younger man.--This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.
Had someone handed me this book to read, stripped of its cover thus leaving me no clue as to whom had written it, never in a million years would I have guessed the author to be a man!
Brian Moore should be commended for his impressive ability at bringing to life the totally believable female character portrayed in this book. Few male writers can successfully execute on paper such a vivid and candid depiction of a middle-aged woman in turmoil--the revealing of her innermost thoughts about herself and the world around her as she grapples with the sensitive issues of aging and sexuality.
Anticipating her husband's arrival in France to celebrate their second honeymoon, Sheila Redden dreams of rekindling the passions and excitement once present in their stale, sixteen-year marriage. However, disillusioned by his many excuses for not showing up to meet her, Sheila soon becomes painfully aware that her husband's busy schedule with tending patients takes precedence over her happiness. Lonely and deeply hurt, Sheila does what I guess many emotionally-neglected wives would do--she has an affair. I don't think that she intentionally went out looking to get laid--it was just something that happened quite naturally given the vulnerable state of mind she was in at the time. What starts out as a seemingly innocent enough chat with a handsome young American in a Paris diner, suddenly magnifies into something far more serious. Riddled with guilt, yet driven by the desire to walk away from her loveless marriage in favor of a more independent life, Sheila confesses to her husband (over the phone!) that she is in love with another man. What follows Sheila's confession is an unexpected train of events that will drastically change the lives of all of those she touches.
As I've said before--Wow! What a book! This is one of those
'once upon a time' fairy tale romances, but one in which no one at the end rides off into the sunset happily ever after.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to just kick back and enjoy a good ole' fashioned, brilliantly-written romance novel. But be forewarned--some of the lovemaking scenes are quite explicit.
TWO THUMBS UP FOR THIS THOROUGHLY ENJOYABLE NOVEL!
Moore's cool, precise, detached prose steers the reader through an emotional storm. If anything, this coolness enhances the intensely erotic scenes in the story. As always with Brian Moore, the tale seems to be driven by its own internal workings, and the personalities of its characters. Yet the ending is neither staid nor predictable. You will not be able to put this book down easily, or to put it out of your mind until long after you have finished reading it.