Smith shakes up the midlife marriage renewal subgenre with the emotionally complex tale of Elizabeth Whittington, who has accepted that her marriage to Howe Whittington, the wealthiest man in their small Georgia town, is a sham. Howe cheats, has grown hard over the years, and is less than present in their marriage, but after a stroke lands him in a coma, he wakes up, six months later, a changed man. Suddenly, he wants to work on repairing their marriage and helping others fix the problems in their lives. That, naturally, proves to be difficult, and Elizabeth, meanwhile, must decide if she can trust her husband while he tries to right some wrongs, and, in the process, reveals a trove of town secrets. That the story isn't a freewheeling comedy sets it apart from the pack; Elizabeth's struggles feel real (though Howe remains a little cartoonish), and the way Smith (The Red Hat Club) leaves Elizabeth to pursue or abandon her marriage on her own terms is a refreshing departure from convention. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/26/2010 Release date: 09/01/2010 Genre: Fiction
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