The book isn't as compelling as the title. It's more of a character study. One reads about each character's background and how they happen to be in each other's spheres. But, it's unsatisfying in that there is no awakening, changing or growing. Each character stays the exact same way they were, emotionally suppressed without any revelations that break them through to a more wise or elevated way of being. The most disappointing for me was that the lead character, Rose, is constantly described as being beautiful, tall, thin, lovely...but she's as hollow as a shell and we never know why. The author, Ann Patchett, certainly wrote far more interesting female characters in later books.