From Publishers Weekly
Fleming (Motherhood Deferred), a commentator for CNN and The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, examines the marital angst that follows infidelity in the two novellas that make up her fiction debut. The conceit is simple: in the first story, "A Married Woman," she outlines the dilemma of the beautiful, reserved Caroline Betts, who knows instantly that her husband, William, is about to have a serious affair with April, the 20-something daughter of a friend of theirs. Caroline, who knows her husband well and is a hawk-eyed observer of his moods and expressions, slowly comes unhinged, realizing that the depth of his love for April may sink her marriage. In "A Married Man," Fleming takes a more lighthearted look at philandering, as protagonist David Sanderson cracks rueful jokes and comically acts out when he learns of wife Marcia's quick, casual interlude with a dinner-party guest. The funniest passages take place during the couple's therapy sessions with a Dr. Phil-style psychologist (coiner of such maxims as "you're as sick as your secrets") who has used his own infidelity to build a high-profile career. Fleming is a thoughtful, intelligent writer whose arch humor and dead-on dialogue suggest great potential for subsequent novels. The biggest problem with these novellas is the familiarity of the material; there are some clichs in both the plotting and characterization. Still, Fleming clearly has a knack for making the ups and downs of marital life deliciously entertaining.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
This first work of fiction by Fleming, a journalist and contributor to CNN's NewsNight with Aaron Brown, comprises two novellas that examine the ideas of marriage and infidelity and how spouses can genuinely love each other yet decide to test the boundaries. In the first, "A Married Woman," we meet middle-aged Caroline, a mother of two grown children who is watching her husband, William, slowly die. The narrative is divided between the present and Caroline's recollections of William's having an affair with a friend of their college-aged daughter Katie. Though Caroline loves her husband a great deal and his impending death rattles the whole family, his indiscretion has tainted the household. In the second novella, "A Married Man," Fleming turns the tables. We meet a younger family, the Sandersons-David, a successful investment advisor; his beautiful wife, Marcia; and their two young sons, Trevor and Kyle. Marcia has decided to have a brief fling with a dinner guest and though regretful does not hide her indiscretion. The couple seeks help from a counselor, but David can't seem to cope with having had his idyllic marriage spoiled. Both stories are set in Los Angeles and provide a snapshot of marriages that on the surface appear wonderful. Well-drawn characters and tight narratives allow the reader to observe life beneath the facade and decide what constitutes forgiveness, family, and fidelity. Recommended for public libraries.Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.