Intimate Strangers

Juliette Mead, Author
Juliette Mead, Author Pocket Books $22 (0p) ISBN 978-0-671-53794-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 416 pages - 978-0-671-53795-1
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-671-85232-0
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The catalyst: an ad, impulsively placed with the Worldwide Home Exchange Club by British journalists Maggie and Oliver Callahan of Brockhampton House in Wiltshire. The next step: an impulsive reply from Christy and Gabe McCarthy of Oak Ridge, an almost plantation-sized house in rural North Carolina. The result: a seemingly innocent eight-week house swap that will end in the destruction of both marriages. The Callahans know something is amiss in their marriage--Oliver is a compulsive liar with a habit of adultery, and Maggie loathes the fact that her chauvinistic husband has begun to consider her just a housewife. When, on the eve of their departure for America, Oliver disappears to London, Maggie retaliates by sleeping with their closest friend, antique auctioneer Edward Arabin. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, attorney Gabe McCarthy adores his wife and young son but fears that Christy sometimes finds him boring. A justifiable suspicion, for Christy arrives in England in search of an emotion that will be ""dangerous and awful."" When she stumbles upon an unfinished novel, A Sad Affair, in Oliver's study, Christy is certain she's found the man who can fulfill the fantasy. Then, ""a freak combination of a stray cat, a milk bottle, and a prank doorbell ringer"" brings Oliver back to London and into Christy's waiting dreams. British-American writer Mead's bright and engaging novel of love, manners and temptation succeeds in being sensual without relying on gratuitous sex, and finishes with a surprising epilogue that promises a real shock for the obsessed Christy when the true authorship of A Sad Affair is revealed. Literary Guild alternate. (Oct.)
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