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The End Of An Error [Paperback]

Mameve Medwed
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
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Book Description

March 25 2008

Lee Emery is an empty nester, contentedly married to a man she has known forever and hunkering down in the house where she grew up. She believes she is happy occupying such a familiar emotional and physical space. But questions of the path not taken start to haunt her after she publishes a memoir of her deliciously eccentric grandmother with whom she traipsed through Europe at eighteen. It was then that Lee fell in love for the first time. Twenty-five years later, "what if" obsessions shake up her settled life. Should she have made a different choice—Simon—instead of the man now next to her? Struck once more by the lingering power of first love, she sets off a chain of events that catapults her back to Europe and to a second chance that she may or may not want to risk.

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From Publishers Weekly

The author is a practiced hand at warmhearted women's fiction (Host Family; Mail), and her punning title suggests she has struck a more than usually giddy note here. In fact, the humor in this tale of Lee Emery, a happily married woman of a certain age who unaccountably finds herself hankering after her first love, a wry young Englishman she met in her student days, is sometimes a little forced, and it is the moments of genuine emotion that come across more strongly. Lee has written a memoir of her glamorous grandmother Marguerite, who encouraged her fleeting London affair with Simon so long ago, and when she lets steadfast but rather boring husband Ben read it (once it's been published) and impulsively sends a copy to Simon, it churns up her whole life. The denouement is quietly touching if not entirely believable, and the portrait of Marguerite, clinging to her cherished luxuries, even as she sinks into desuetude, is skillfully composed of equal parts amusement and compassion. It's only in scenes like Lee's unhappy bookstore reading or the bestsellerdom envisaged for Ben's obsessive academic history of an obscure Maine patriarch that Medwed veers dangerously close to farce and seems in less than perfect control. A woman as bright as Lee would never settle for so threadbare a publisher for her memoir or be as excited as Medwed makes her out to be on publication day. But these are minor caveats in an enjoyable read that could provoke both smiles and tears.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Lee writes a memoir of her larger-than-life grandmother, Marguerite, and their trip through Europe when Lee was 18. Just when Marguerite's quest for the spotlight threatens to overwhelm her, Lee finds her first love in England with Simon. After her parents' unexpected death, she finds comfort with Ben, a hometown boy whom her grandmother dismisses as ordinary. Now, 25 years later, Lee is married to Ben with three grown children and content with her life in her small college town in Maine, but thoughts of Simon keep intruding. Her book gets what amounts to comical treatment from her ditzy publisher, and somehow her triumph gets lost in the greater spectacle of life. Ben encourages her, but he is working on his magnum opus about a local Revolutionary-era logger, an undertaking that overshadows her more modest volume. So Lee decides to visit Simon because, although Ben has been a great husband, she still wonders about the road not taken. This witty and diverting, even enchanting, look at middle age should make Medwed a household name. Patty Engelmann
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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5.0 out of 5 stars intriguing look at middle age June 16 2003
A quarter of a century ago, when she was eighteen and doing Europe with her grandma, Lee Emery met and fell in love with Englishman Simon. Later Lee married Ben, a nice but somewhat boring professor, who still cherishes her as if they are newlyweds though they have had three children. Both seem contented together in a serene safe life.
However, Lee reads the book she helped bring to press, her grandmother's memoirs, Mainely Marguerite, which includes a passage describing Lee's first love. Suddenly, Lee acts out of character and questions her present lifestyle with a melancholy is that all there is? After sending a copy of the book to Simon, Lee scrambles to Europe trying to decide whether to take a second chance on a first teenage love or chicken out to return to the safety of her brood?
Title pun aside, this is an intriguing look at middle age with empty nest beckoning and the past feeling more like a positive nostalgia trip. Lee is a fabulous protagonist struggling between what she feels is an awakening that her lackluster sheltered life cannot be why she is breathing vs. the excitement of what she first felt as a teen. Will the reality equal the memory or will she conclude that you can never go home and the bird in hand is best?
Harriet Klausner
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By A Customer
This is a book for anyone who remembers their first love...or perhaps the great unrequited love of their life..and wonders if things could have turned out differently. Even though happily married to our comfortable "Ben", we can't help but recall the more exciting "Simon" in our lives. Having read Medwed's first two books and enjoyed them, I ordered this one, and am so glad I's definitely the best of the three. I simply could not put it down until I discovered how things came out for Lee, the heroine. there is some of Medwed's humor in the book, but its real value is the nostalgia it should evoke in its readers. I'm a senior citizen, and plan to recommend this to my daughter, approaching 40, as well. And I think the Bens and Simons of the world will enjoy it too.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Funny, smart, undeniably moving! June 11 2003
By A Customer
I've adored Medwed's work ever since the exhilarating "Mail", and this one is her most irresistible. Lee Emery is middle-aged, happily married, and she's written a book about the path --and the person-- not taken--a life with her first love Simon(already I'm hooked.) Amidst the memories of that love, we also read about her glamorous grandmother Marguerite (one of the most magnificent literary creations I've encountered!)Impulsively, Lee sends the book to Simon, turning everything in her life upside down. Told in sparkling prose, the book had melaughing out loud in parts and reaching for the box of tissues in others. And to me, a novel that can make you do both is a masterpiece indeed.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Witty and Clever - Sept. 9 2003
By A Customer
As with Host Family and Mail, Medwed writes a light hearted novel with terrific descriptions, scenes, emotions. One again, Medwed doesn't disappoint and there are plenty of creative word-play zingers throughout the book that jump out as unexpected delights and surprises seemingly planted as little nods from the author to those who are culturally literate. Her characters are realistic and amusing. You'll finish the book wishing you had a "Ben", "Simon" and "Marguerite" in your life and I suspect given the care that Ms. Medwed so obviously took when she wrote each word of their dialogues that she has been fortunate enough to know them all.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Worth every moment! June 28 2003
Fans of Mameve Medwed's two other funny and warm novels--Host Family and Mail--definitely will feel thrilled to return to yet another one of her well-written, humorous stories. If you have never read Medwed's novels, you might want to start with The End of An Error, which is about the road not taken--take it and see where main character Lee Emery ends up! Of particular fun in this novel--the exploration of authorship and how it can enrich/ruin/change your life. (If you're interested in this topic, you might want to read two other funny novels that address this subject matter: John Colapinto's About The Author or Christina Schwarz's All is Vanity).
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