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The Senator's Wife Paperback – 20 Apr 2009

3.1 out of 5 stars 34 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC; Paperback Edition, First Printing edition (20 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 140880431X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408804315
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 689,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

Review

'An incredible story of the dangers of trying to live lives through others. Perfect book-club material' Easy Living 'Shock, deceit, desire and despair come together at once in a way that feels simply like fate A clever storyteller with a penchant for the unexpected' New York Times 'A complex, rich, haunting novel of marital love and its complications' Woman & Home 'This addictive read had me biting my lip with foreboding' Eve

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

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1990s New England, two women, living next door to one another begin to be friends. One in her thirties, newly married. The other – the senator’s wife – in her seventies, living apart from her serially unfaithful husband. Things happen. Secrets develop. No spoilers from me. I thoroughly enjoyed it. The writing reminded me of Anne Tyler, Alison Lurie – invisible authors who make storytelling look easy, make the reader forget they are there, who take us inside ordinary lives and make them page-turning. We inhabit these two women, increasingly worried about what may happen. The last line is great, another seemingly effortless, natural bit of storytelling that allows us to forgive without easing the ache.
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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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By Julia Flyte TOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Jun. 2008
Format: Paperback
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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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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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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