Between Husbands and Friends

Nancy Thayer, Author St. Martin's Press $23.95 (241p) ISBN 978-0-312-20613-0
Two Massachusetts families live out a decade of births, deaths, secrets and infidelities in this moving 12th novel from Thayer (An Act of Love). Narrator Lucy West, 37, is a self-employed mother of two; her husband, Max, edits the local newspaper in Sussex, a Boston suburb. Suave, irreverent Kate Cunningham and her husband, Chip, an attorney, move to Sussex in 1987; Kate and Lucy meet at their children's preschool and become fast friends. Soon the couples summer together on Nantucket, and their lives grow ever more entwined. Thayer's narrative jumps back and forth between the couples' present and their shared past. One set of chapters follows the Wests and the Cunninghams from 1987 to 1991: during these years, Kate chafed in her unfulfilling marriage, Max becomes a depressed workaholic and Lucy, devastated by her stillborn baby, takes comfort in a brief affair with Chip. Other chapters relate the events of 1998, which test Lucy's marriage and friendship all over again. When her son, Jeremy (conceived in 1991), is diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, both couples must confront the chance that Chip, not Max, is Jeremy's real father. Readers prepared for the slow pace of Thayer's plot will appreciate her detailed, realistic records of motherhood, child-rearing and domestic routine in Sussex and Nantucket. The finale, set in Boston's Children's Hospital, will strike some as cathartic and fulfilling, others as pat and predictable. Yet thoughtful chronicles of female friendship (see The Book Borrower, above) always have appeal, and Thayer's twist on the relationship is sure and steady. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club alternates. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 08/30/1999
Release date: 09/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 978-1-56895-776-0
Open Ebook - 204 pages - 978-0-553-39110-7
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