From Publishers Weekly
Oprah-anointed Hamilton once again takes readers to the Midwest, this time lacing her narrative with winning humor. Laura Rider and her husband, Charlie, live in Hartley, Wis., where they own and run Prairie Wind Farm. After 12 years of marriage, Laura decides to stop sleeping with Charlie, and although lovemaking is his one superb talent, she's convinced she's used up her quota. Also, Laura has a secret fantasy: to be an author. After she meets local public radio host Jenna Faroli, Laura decides to write a romance and encourages a flirtation between Charlie and Jenna, an experiment that she thinks will help her write her book. Their flirtation quickly slides into an affair, with Laura's sly interference. Laura, at once jealous and pleased, benefits from the inevitable chain of events, while Jenna isn't so lucky. Though the plotting is a bit predictable, the female characters are sharply observed and delineated, and the humorous tone will be an appealing surprise to Hamilton's readers. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Best-selling novelist Hamilton turns to domestic satire with mixed results. Though humor is a welcome addition to this talented author’s bag of tricks, and her characters are certainly engaging, the quirky story line falls a little short of the standards set by Hamilton in The Book of Ruth (1988) and A Map of the World (1994). Marriage isn’t all it’s cracked up to be for small-town wife Laura Rider. She’s a little bored with the limited parameters of her midwestern life and exhausted from the physical attentions of her amorous husband. When would-be-writer Laura bans the amiable Charlie from the bedroom, she all but orchestrates an affair for him with her idol, Jenna Faroli, a public radio host. As her Machiavellian scheme successfully unfolds, Laura gains grist for her own ambitions. Of course, playing with people’s lives exacts a toll, but Laura doesn’t seems to mind the expense—especially when others pay for it. Though some readers may be puzzled by this new side of Hamilton, others will certainly want to go along for the surprisingly witty ride. --Margaret Flanagan