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Britain continues to lag a year or two behind in trendy-fiction subject matter--so this merry-go-round of marital splits, affairs, and liberation (all blabbed forth in zealous confessional prose) will seem old hat to most US readers. Stuffy husband Alan has left Meg, a dutiful wife and mother of two small girls, for another woman. Thus, Meg has the blues--despite pep talks from next-door neighbor Frances (""the quintessential Ms.; non-conformist, left-wing, arty""). But then into Meg's life comes Ben, who, though not Meg's type at all (22, a university student from a working-class family), proposes an affair; and not only does he liberate Meg sexually but he's great with the kids: ""He was the rain that feeds the roots, the wind that cleanses."" Still, there are other, ill winds whistling around: young Stella, infatuated with Ben, attempts suicide twice; Frances has on-and-off snits, especially when she thinks that Meg is about to steal one of her men--like nice Mark; and Alan, his inamorata having split, runs off with the children. (Meg and Ben catch up with him on the coast of Ireland.) The final blow comes, however, when Ben--having introduced Meg and the kids into his loud, cheerful family--decides to return to the girl he truly loves. So, sloughing off Alan for good and cherishing the memory of Ben, Meg will now concentrate on a life of ""small pleasures, small achievements, small love"" (probably Mark). . . and a New Beginning. Last year's model in self-actualization romance, only slightly enlivened by the English accent.

Pub Date: Aug. 25th, 1981
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin