Middle-aged Annie Reed contemplates an empty nest, an unhappy husband and a return to the U.S. after years abroad.
It's been a rough year for the Reeds: After two wonderful decades in Paris, husband Wesley has lost his job (not to mention his self-esteem) and has completely withdrawn from their marriage; daughter Sophie, meanwhile, has taken a high-powered position in New York and won't be home for the holidays. Annie finds her employment at the Liberal Arts Abroad office stifling, and she yearns for more time to write poetry. Enter Daphne, a smoldering, sensual Brit who has an interest in Annie's poems. With Daphne's connections, Annie lands a book contract writing the accompanying verses to a collection of atmospheric Paris portraits. The two women quickly become close; Annie spends time at God House, Daphne's familial home, where Daphne exhibits increasingly bizarre behavior. Just as Annie's career as a poet takes off, Wesley accepts a job in Washington, D.C. Things are further complicated when Daphne makes a play for both Annie and Wesley, an overture that Annie resists, but, in a moment of despair, Wesley accepts. Will Annie conclude her marriage, remain in Paris and find happiness with her handsome publisher? During a lunch with her wise friend Hélène, Annie learns of a similar indiscretion and its resolution. Days later, daughter Sophie contracts a rare disease, forcing Annie to return to the States where, “bit by bit, Annie imagined the threads of their family life knitting back together.”
A Parisian setting and the romance of poetry can't overcome Davis’s cardboard characters and predictable plot.