When Hattie Darling's husband Ben dies on his first night home from an
extended business trip, she is devastated. But when she finds among his
belongings evidence that there had been another woman in his life, Hattie is
unable to mourn Ben as she thinks she should. In an attempt to make peace with
her discovery, and against the advice of her friends, Hattie decides to find the
other woman and confront her.
But the confrontation leads to surprise and eventual understanding. At the
heart of this unusual book is the unexpected intertwining of the lives of the
two women. Gradually, Hattie realizes that she has superimposed the deceit of
Ben's life onto her own.
A gentle tale of two women who, unbeknown to each other, shared the same
husband. The story opens as Hattie's husband returns from a business trip
and dies just as he is trying to tell her something. Shortly after, Hattie
discovers evidence of another woman and goes in search of her. She finds
her and, unexpectedly, becomes deeply involved in the other woman's life whilst
never revealing her own true identity. Whilst the storyline of one man,
two wives has been told many times, (for example Anita Shreve's relatively
recent, The Pilot's Wife) this tale brings a new angle to the telling. I
recommend this to readers who enjoy novels that explore family relationships -
with a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. I understand that the
book is currently being made into a movie by Barbra Streisand's film company -
it should make a great 'chick flick'.
Bookends Piotr translated, Every half-truth is a complete lie.
This statement well underscores the dilemma of Hattie Darling,
the heroine of Karen Blomain's first novel. For Hattie is forced through a
series of bizarre circumstances to sink deeper into a falsification of her
seemingly happy and well-adjusted life.
The plot complication is old as all triangular relationships
between men and women. Hattie's travelling salesman husband Ben dies, and
Hattie, living in a small Pennsylvania town, travels Northeast to discover that
he has secretly married another woman, Anya, in Hartford, Connecticut, and sire
a daughter by her as well..
[Hattie's ] avoidance of the truth begins. She rents a room
in Anya's small row house and unexpectedly, over a period of months, bonds with
both Anya and her eight-year-old daughter Kasia. The three of them achieve
contentment and love, despite a seemingly improbable situation - and therein
lies one of the crucial values of this novel.
The book is a fascinating psychological tale of how two women
in such circumstances could actually become friends, the one never revealing her
true background, the other never asking or needing to know the details of
Hattie's life before Ben's death.
Even before the plane is located, the relentless focus on Kathryn's dead husband's life begins to bring a bizarre personal mystery into focus. Could there be any truth to the increasingly disturbing rumors that he had a secret?
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