Donato’s novel tells a familiar tale of a marriage’s wear and tear, but it’s packed with surprising twists.
Most marriages reach a tepid phase as the nest empties, and Kate McAllister’s is no exception. Her husband, Michael, a reliable provider and dependable husband, has stood beside her as their two children grew from infancy to early adulthood. Now, as their home seems emptier, Michael seems less loving, something that Kate accepts as a passing phase in their new stage of life. That is, until Michael murmurs another woman’s name in his sleep. The name Marilyn, a name Kate cannot recall hearing from Michael in any other context, suddenly appears everywhere. Kate finds her business card—with an incriminating handwritten message scrawled across it—tucked into Michael’s pant pocket. Kate soon discovers that Marilyn Campbell is, in fact, an ambitious and beautiful woman determined to get what she wants. Kate grows increasingly suspicious about her husband. When the beautiful Marilyn shows up at Kate’s office unexpectedly, bearing a tightly sealed envelope for Michael, Kate’s paranoia overwhelms her, and she opens it. What she discovers confirms her worst suspicions, and it triggers a quest for truth that has Kate digging into every private corner of Michael’s life. As Thanksgiving approaches, bringing with it Kate’s traditional dinner for more than 20 people, the tension escalates, and her marriage seems harder and harder to salvage. Fast-paced and highly readable, Kate’s story is one that is not only sympathetic, but packed with its own surprises as well. How well does anyone know his or her spouse? How does one walk a line between sharing hard secrets and not wanting to disappoint the other person? All of this is explored as the characters maneuver life as best they can, creating further misunderstandings as they try to make their way back to each other.
A comical, believable story of how a couple can unravel simply by wanting to protect each other.