From Publishers Weekly
Giving a contemporary twist to this bittersweet tale, accomplished storyteller Plain ( Tapestry ) revisits familiar terrain: the intricate landscape of an extended family. The Fergusons seem to have it all. Lynn runs their comfortable home in an affluent Connecticut suburb, her husband Robert is headed for a major position with his corporation and their eldest daughter Emily has been accepted at Yale. But it's a facade. Robert's inexplicable rages lead him to physically abuse Lynn; at times he is cruelly dictatorial with Emily and her troubled younger sister Annie. Passive and confused Lynn convinces herself that Robert is just a particularly demanding husband and father. But counsel from her sharply perceptive and independent friend Josie, combined with the shrewd advice of a calculating womanizer and an afternoon with Robert's aunt force her to face her family's problems. By avoiding melodrama and sentiment, by getting under the skin of each of her diverse characters, Plain delivers a story of considerable impact. Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club selections.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
The plight of the battered wife is the subject of Plain's latest (Treasures, 1992; Harvest, 1990, etc.)--in which an Iowa- bred suburban Connecticut housewife and mother suffers the sporadic rages of a successful career husband. ``To live with Robert was to dwell in sunlight for months and months; then suddenly a flashing storm would turn everything into darkness....'' Although Robert at first blamed Lynn for the drowning death of their toddler, he had been cautioned in his judgment by wiser heads, and now, in 1988, Robert and Lynn live--to the public at least--in harmony in a comfortable house filled with tasteful things: ``Either the best or nothing'' is Robert's dictum. Handsome, certainly involved with his family, hard-working, and on his way up, Robert, who also enjoys giving thoughtful gifts, is surely still the man Lynn fell in love with. But a dinner jacket not packed for an important business trip, a crazy suspicion of interest in another man, too sharp an argument, then--the violence, followed by Robert's cringing apology. Some friends and acquaintances ``know''--kind Bruce and his dying wife, Josie; lawyer Tom Lawrence, who seems to take an unusually strong interest in Lynn; and the family of teenaged Harris, boyfriend of Lynn and Robert's daughter Emily. Meanwhile, the children, Emily and Annie, seek their own refuges and rebellions, but it is not until after the birth of baby Bobby--and some sleuthing that reveals the truth about Robert's first marriage--that Lynn accepts her loss--and is nearly murdered. This time out, Plain covers the essentials in her psychological profiles of batterer and batteree--in a straightforward tale about a gentle woman determined to make the best of things and a man whose bright blue eyes can suddenly blaze black. A shoo-in, of course. (Literary Guild Dual Selection for Spring) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.