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The Senator's Wife    by Sue Miller order for
Senator's Wife
by Sue Miller
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

The Senator's Wife portrays the private lives of two women who are trying to navigate through their marriages. Meri is young and newly married. Delia, the wife of senator Tom Naughton, is in her mid-seventies. Neighbours in New England townhouses, they quickly become friends. Meri enjoys Delia's guidance and attention, something she lacked from her own mother while growing up. Delia enjoys the companionship of Meri and her husband Nathan.

As the story unfolds, we learn that Delia has been living on her own for the past twenty years. She remains in touch and is still friends with Tom, but after years of dealing with his infidelities she prefers to live alone. Tom is still the love of her life although her grown children disapprove of their lifestyles.

Meri is trying to renovate her home and hold down a new job. She soon learns that she is pregnant and is filled with mixed emotions. She wonders if she can truly give so much of herself to another person, while she also wants to be a better mother than the one she had growing up. When the baby arrives, Meri is overwhelmed but Delia is there to help her in any way that she can. Then Delia learns that Tom has taken ill and she rushes off to Washington to bring him home and care for him.

In some ways the two women's lives become parallel. Meri is dealing with a newborn, while Delia struggles with Tom as he learns life's basic skills all over again. Each woman is there to help and support the other. What happens next is truly shocking and will stay with you long after you finish the book. The Senator's Wife is a must read for women. Once again, Sue Miller has given us rich characters dealing with deceit, desire and despair.

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