Love and Houses

Marti Leimbach, Author Simon & Schuster $21 (288p) ISBN 978-0-684-83670-6
Leimbach (Dying Young) serves up just the thing for readers who want fiction to supply the same level of emotional exploration and moral imagination they can get from watching a week of Seinfeld reruns. When novelist Meg Howe finds herself seven months pregnant and suddenly deserted by Andy, her Boston bookseller husband, her first thoughts are of real estate. She has, she freely admits, driven Andy away after he proved to be pathologically afraid of pregnancy and childbirth. So now she's left to deal with a potentially fatherless child and, most immediately, two mortgages--their now up-for-sale apartment and a newly purchased 18th-century former schoolhouse. Meanwhile, Meg's editor is pressing for delivery of her new book--a funny, anecdotal novel about marriage. The editor wants her to write more like his whiz-kid bestselling author, Theo Clarkson. Theo, who pens trendy romantic Waller-esque westerns, was once Meg's lover. He left her because Meg was then suffering writer's block (""I'm leaving you as a writer. As a person, I'll be there for you if you ever stop having block.""). Now, however, Theo has returned--he's bought not just her apartment, but the entire house--and he's moving in. Against her better judgment, Meg finds herself helping him with renovations. And when she goes into labor, it's Theo, not Andy, at her side. In the end, it's real estate that helps Meg make her choice between the two. While Leimbach's latest is slowed by subplots involving Meg's best friends and their own travails with husbands and houses, the pace is rat-a-tat, and everybody is cheerfully manipulative and wittily sheathed in emotional Teflon. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 03/29/1999
Release date: 04/01/1999
Genre: Fiction
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