Elyse sits next to the wrong (right) man on the trip from Phoenix to Dallas. She is enroute back to her family, husband Phil, and young daughter Tory. The right (wrong) man’s name is Gerry. When they leave the flight they meet in the Traveler’s Chapel. They kiss. As they leave to their different connecting flights, Gerry gives Elyse his card. She uses it as a prayer card – to redirect her life.
So starts “Love in Mid Air” which reminded me in some ways of Anne Tyler’s “Accidental Tourist.” Like Mason, Elyse is in the right (wrong) life. Husband Phil is a dentist. Her friends are all forty something and married in upper middle class lives. They all belong to a book club together. They all expire every time they go home. Kelly, Elyse’s best friend since high school has married Mark, a not so kind, but wealthy, husband. Nancy is married to Jeff, their minister. Belinda and Barbara, also married, round out the book club. Oh, and Lynn, who is divorced, and hangs on the lip, the periphery of the language of married women.
At times taut, at times tempestuous, never tranquil, this novel absorbs the lives of Elyse, Kelly, Nancy, Belinda, Barbara and Lynn. Floating above, Elyse is pivotal to the group. She complains the loudest about her spent marriage. The other women watch, in turn envious, scared, then back to envious as Elyse carries on her affair with Gerry, lightening her bonds to a marriage that feels calculated. A marriage in which she feels unseen and superfluous. As she follows each twist and turn, all the women, especially Kelly, try to stop her from lifting like an air balloon into the stratosphere of going back to herself. Her right (versus wrong) life.
This novel moves in a straight flight into our hearts. Like Elizabeth Berg, Ms. Wright pushes us into the wind tunnel of Elyse’s sterile marriage and back out. Freedom or safety? Truth – or Dare? Through Elyse we learn that she can have both the emotional flight and return to earth on a sane and safe orbit. When Elyse returns, she returns home. Her own home on her own terms.
An amazing novel, never subtle, always brilliant, Kim Wright ascends to the ground with truths that are universal to all women and specific to Elyse. Wright never judges, just observes with the quick and staring eye of the eagle into what women feel and how they act within and without that strange labyrinth called marriage.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Book Review by Broad “A” – Ava
Thank you to the Hachette Book Group for providing this title for our book review as well as this giveaway. We were in no way paid or compensated for our opinions.
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