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The Senator's Wife [Paperback]

Sue Miller
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
RRP: 10.99
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Book Description

3 Mar 2008
Love came late to Meri, but in a rush: she met Nathan at thirty-six, he moved in a month later, and they married a month after that. Now they are exchanging their comfortable mid-western existence for life in a college town in New England, a house of their own, a more responsible teaching job for Nathan - a new life that Meri is not sure she even wants. Though she loves her husband, with an erotic heat that shows no sign of cooling, some rebel force in her struggles with these changes, and she feels there is trouble ahead for their marriage. When they find the just the right house, Meri baulks at the expense, at the sheer adult-ness of it all, but Nathan is full of the possibilities of the place, and boyishly excited by the fact that their next-door neighbour is the distinguished Senator Tom Naughton, a political hero of his, now a man in his seventies. The senator is nowhere to be seen, but Meri strikes up an unexpected friendship with his wife, the elegant, patrician Delia - the very antithesis of Meri, with all her smudgy tomboy sexiness. The more Meri comes to know about the Naughtons, the more she is drawn to this private, poised woman, sensing that she has much to learn from her - about marriage, love and motherhood. But the closer, too, she comes to a final, terrible breach of trust that could ruin everything. Beautifully written and alive with telling, truthful detail, The Senator's Wife is a completely absorbing story about the sacrifices love demands of us all.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (3 Mar 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 074759483X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0747594833
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.2 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,149,938 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sue Miller was born in Chicago in 1943. She is the bestselling author of eight previous novels including The Good Mother, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest and Lost in the Forest, the acclaimed memoir The Story of My Father and the Richard & Judy hit The Senator's Wife. She serves as the chair of PEN, New England. Her next novel, The Lake Shore Limited, is due for publication in 2010. Sue Miller lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

(Photo credit: Debi Milligan)

Product Description


'Miller writes with tremendous subtlety and perception' Daily Mail 'Sue Miller brings unusual skill in the exploration of womens' hopes and regrets ... the careful build-up of detail, and an acute understanding of the facts and feelings which lie behind disguises' Sunday Telegraph 'Fiction so rich, so thoughtful, so absorbing that reading it is like experiencing the passage in our own lives' Los Angeles Times 'Meticulously observed and utterly gripping' Marie Claire

About the Author

Sue Miller was born in Chicago in 1943. She is the bestselling author of eight previous novels including The Good Mother, While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest and Lost in the Forest, and of the acclaimed memoir The Story of My Father. She serves as the chair of PEN, New England. Sue Miller lives in Boston, Massachusetts.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good book club choice 10 Jun 2008
By Julia Flyte TOP 50 REVIEWER
The Senator's Wife is about two women: Delia is the one who gives the book its name while newly-wed Meri is her new next-door neighbour. Delia's husband Tom was a prominent Democratic senator in the 1960s. The couple now live apart, but still maintain a relationship. The book is about the relationship between the two women as well as their individual marriages. The book is set in 1993/1994, although it has an oddly dated feel, as if it were set 10 years earlier.

Delia is the more likeable of the two women and for some time I felt that Meri wasn't adding much to the book other than another perspective on Delia, but ultimately their lives become entwined and common themes develop. Although Meri is a newly-wed, she is aged in her late 30s (presumably to make some events that occur later in the book more credible), and yet she has the naievity and self-absorption of a younger woman.

Even though I didn't particularly warm to either woman, I enjoyed this book very much and read it quickly. I could feel the tension building throughout and I wasn't sure how it would resolve itself. Some reviews that I had read talked about a twist at the end which I think is over-selling it, but it does build to a climax. However I also felt that the ending was over-explained and that Meri's motivations were spelled out in a way that didn't feel convincing (nor necessary). This would be a good choice for a book club as there's plenty to discuss.

This is the first book that I've read by Sue Miller, but her writing reminded me in many ways of Anne Tyler, whose writing I love.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A very satisfying read 26 Mar 2008
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I feel a bit nervous being the first to review this but hey ho. I bought this after it had been given quite a favourable review in the Daily Mail, I think. To begin with I felt I'd been had to be honest - it moved slowly and I didn't particularly like any of the characters. And here is the big but, never having read Sue Miller before I had no idea what to expect and she really delivers. This is such a finely observed picture of relationships and characters that are so painstakingly built up that I was completely hooked before I knew where I was. If you want a thrilling, roller-coaster ride then forget this. What you will get is a beautifully written story about two couples, their relationships with each other and their respective partners and what happens.....I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I am now off to have a look at what else Ms Miller has to offer. Cheers.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Very Disappointed 4 Aug 2009
By Toots
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I started reading this book in a coffee bar and decided to take the plunge and bought it from Amazon. It took me a number of false to starts to get into the book and quite frankly I was disappointed.
I could not quite understand why Meri was so drawn to Delia nor Meri's ambivalence about her own marriage nor her willingness to be somewhat overpowered by Nathan. I agree with the reviewer that said Meri added little to the book. It also has a dated feel about it.
The book starts more with Nathan's interest in the Senator but this is not followed up.
If I had known it was one of Richard and Judy's summer reads, I would probably have steered clear.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good writing, strange ending 23 Sep 2011
I found this to be a pleasant but rather rambling read, the sort of book that passes the time but is easy to put down. It is well written but lacks anything approaching tension or suspense, relying instead on a gentle insight into human relationships.

The plot revolves around the lives of two neighbours, an older woman and a younger couple, and for the most part is quite believable, until we reach the final chapters. I was disappointed by the ending, which took a lurch into the realms of the highly-unlikely, and seemed to me to go against the nature of the characters we'd got to know.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ending is a let down 23 May 2011
By N. Hunt
I would say this book is typical of the 'Written for Women' type of fiction. It proceeds in a fairly normal way. However the ending was terrible and left me feeling dirty (In an unclean way). The story could have ended in a much less offensive way. It turned something which is entirely natural into a lurid episode.
I wouldn't go out of my way to read another book by this author.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Worth a gamble 27 July 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This was my first Sue Miller book and she is a very talented writer. I felt that the characters were very real. It was an extremely peaceful read and sometimes when something catastrophic is about to happen, an author will go into ridiculous detail right before it happens (ever notice that?) And a couple times she goes into extreme detail and you find yourself holding your breath and then you slowly let it out when nothing happens. And then BAM! Something happens and you didn't even see it coming! The book is very theatrical in that sense.

Ok, so aside from all that, it was so good, I want to sum up the whole story right here in case for some reason you don't take my advice and read it. I want you to get a glimpse of a good book if your stack of 'to-reads' are too high and you don't think this should make the cut. But I won't do that, but will tell you some of the wonderful themes to pique your interest.

I only recommend this book to women, but if you are a man and read it, my hat goes off to you. You will undoubtedly benefit from a woman's perspective, albeit maybe not the most important woman in your life's perspective. I digress. One theme is women as caretakers. I never saw myself in this role before this book. It is as if our whole lives follow a circuit of care taking, from a little girl and caring for your dolls, cats, dogs, friends; and then you become a woman and take care of your children for at least 5 years, and then just when you think you have time for a career of your own, it is time for your parents. Once you give all that, then you become a grandparent yourself and now you thoroughly enjoy caring for your grandchildren. This was not expressed in the book, but I came to all these conclusions on the side.

Lastly it makes you appreciate the relationship between one generation of women to another. It makes you appreciate the wisdom of the older women in your life and the sacrifices they made.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent literary fiction
Sue Miller is another thoroughly reliable author, and this novel held me gripped throughout. The developing relationship between the two sets of neighbours - one newly married and... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Ms. A. Brooke
4.0 out of 5 stars unusual story
I usually read true crime so this was a far step for me but I found it in the Hotel Reception so thought Id give it a whirl. Read more
Published 10 months ago by anastasia
5.0 out of 5 stars Great writing and well-observed detail
Very well written with well-observed detail and character descriptions. Just as in real life, there was plenty to like and dislike about all of the characters in the book. Read more
Published on 28 May 2012 by Justified Text
2.0 out of 5 stars Delia was trying to master the subjunctive tense...
The Senator's Wife presents itself as a fairly straightforward story of the new neighbours moving in next to ex-senator Tom Naughton and his wife Delia, and looks at first as if... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2011 by Eileen Shaw
2.0 out of 5 stars Dont quite know what to make of it
Like another reader I had a few false starts with this book. It didnt grab me and it was easy to put down. Read more
Published on 4 April 2011 by CMIL
5.0 out of 5 stars Book review
Book arrived quickly and was in excellent condition. Thank you for a good read!
Published on 25 Sep 2010 by Denise
2.0 out of 5 stars Different
Was really looking forward to reading this book was slightly disappointed. Maybe i expected something else after reading the story description, although the characters came across... Read more
Published on 11 Aug 2010 by Susie Grey
4.0 out of 5 stars Open but closed
I expected more about the Senator but instead got the surprise of this actually being about his wife and the trials and tribulations of what goes on behind the scenes at Washington... Read more
Published on 4 Aug 2010 by Mrs. Audrey Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Delicate and non-stereotypical
I loved this book. I loved the way that the character of Meri was not formulaic. I liked the fact that some aspects of her remain unexplained and surprising; it made me enjoy the... Read more
Published on 10 Jun 2010 by CathB
1.0 out of 5 stars Flat writing - dull book
I bought this book as it was recommended by the Richard and Judy book club. However, I wish I hadn't bothered. Read more
Published on 3 Mar 2010 by I. Bleken
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