I had always heard good things about Jane Smiley, and decided to give her a read. I chose this book because it sounded more appealing than some of her other offerings; crime, hidden secrets, infidelities, brutal murders. However, I found this books largely disappointing - it is impossible to engage with any of the characters, even with the focaliser Alice, who we see the events unfold through. There is no warmth, no attempt to engage the reader with any of the character, and I couldn't even finish it because I simply did not care at all in following the plot through. Sorry, but I wont be trying Jane Smiley again. I have generously given it 2 stars because if you are a fan of Smiley's I am sure you will like this book.