cover image The Marriage Sabbatical

The Marriage Sabbatical

Lian Dolan. Morrow, $30 (288p) ISBN 978-0-06-327061-9

In the enticing latest from Dolan (Lost and Found in Paris), a married couple takes a nine-month break from each other in search of self-fulfillment. Jason Elswick, 50, is about to begin a yearlong sabbatical from his book publishing company. His wife Nicole, who works in retail, having stalled on her management career track at a high-end department store years earlier to focus on raising their two children, dreads Jason’s time away in Patagonia, where he plans to gather material for a travel book. What she really wants to do is enroll in a silversmithing program in Santa Fe. With both of their kids studying abroad for college, Jason and Nicole agree to pursue their own interests and follow the “Five Hundred Mile Rule” practiced by their neighbors, which permits them to have sex with other people when they’re at least 500 miles from home. Jason and Nicole hope their plans will lead to a “midlife triumph” rather than provide further evidence of their midlife crises, and Dolan treats her characters with respect as they negotiate the limits of their ambitions. There are plenty of surprises along the way, including the couple’s unique riff on the 500-mile rule. Dolan elevates her diverting story with plenty of sharp insights about middle age. Agent: Yfat Reis Gendell, YRG Partners. (Apr.)