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by Cassandra King

Pub Date: March 6th, 2007
ISBN: 1-4013-0177-0
Publisher: Hyperion

Alabama divorce coach tends to her flock.

After her husband died in a mysterious hunting accident, Clare Ballenger dedicated herself to helping the broken-hearted middle-aged women in her Gulf Shores community heal from the wounds caused by divorce. When she’s not on the clock professionally catering to the emotionally needy, this 50-something busybody tends to the woes of friends and family. She’s got her work cut out for her. In King’s third novel (The Sunday Wife, 2002, etc.), troubled relationships are ubiquitous. Clare’s ministerings have mixed results. Sometimes her advice is helpful; sometimes her opinions stir up trouble, as when Clare provides best friend Dory with a brutally honest analysis of her marriage. Clare provides inconsistent guidance when infidelity decimates her daughter Haley’s relationship, ultimately telling Haley to write the marriage off. Dory and Haley confront Clare on her double standard. While dispensing insight to and fro, she has spared little time for introspection. Two suave bachelors are vying for her attention, so why isn’t she forging ahead with a new relationship? Before ending her self-imposed celibacy, Clare must face the demons in her own marriage. Despite King’s indulgent maundering, the story resonates. This book, which should be read by any 30-year-old woman desperate to wed, ultimately asks: Is marriage worth the sacrifices and the risks? While King doesn’t provide any clear-cut answers, she does lay bare the fears that lurk inside the most outwardly happy wives.

A provocative treatise on the blessings and curses of marriage and middle age.