It’s summer and Lottie Gardner has returned to her childhood home. She and her teenage son are sorting through her mother’s possessions and readying the house for sale. Lottie is retreating from a difficult marriage to a widower who is still grieving for his first wife. As she strips wallpaper and sorts through old clothes, Lottie tries to make sense of her relationships with her son and her new husband. Meanwhile, Lottie’s childhood rival, Elizabeth, also returns to the neighbourhood and begins a steamy affair with Lottie’s brother Cam. Events take a nasty turn when Cam is involved in a car accident that kills Elizabeth’s au pair on the same evening that Elizabeth’s husband comes home. As Lottie deals with the emotional fallout from Elizabeth, her brother ,and her son she comes to a better understanding of the nature of love.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
Miller does an excellent job of revealing her characters “warts and all”. We found we had a tendency to judge Lottie harshly because she was not portrayed as the noble heroine. Members with teenage children thought that the relationship between Lottie and her son Ryan especially well done. The little details of this book were what made the characters live – Lottie’s past bout with breast cancer, her ex-husband’s new wife and baby, the gourmet sandwiches she buys as a treat for Ryan. Although we enjoyed the book, members who had read others by Sue Miller felt that this was not one of her best -not because of the writing, but because of the characters were so difficult to love.