I wound myself into Leah Stewart’s “Husband and Wife” like a knitter winds a skein of yarn. Every word rang true. With so many novels about infidelity, few carry the bereavement, the loss, the gain of not so much forgiveness as acceptance that this novel presents, and presents. Stewart captures the acceptance that we are human, that our flaws contain that humanity as well as our “good parts.” In her brilliant rendition of Nathan and Sarah, their family, their small and large crises, we find the courage that it takes to live in the “scary world of Oz” and the “dullness of Kansas” – of home. This is a compelling writer and her story entrances. Absolutely phenomenal novel.
When Nathan tells Sarah that his new novel, “Infidelity” is not entirely fiction, Sarah’s world jolts to a stop. A poet when she met Nathan, she has given up her writing to become an office manager while Nathan stays home, writes novels, and cares for infant Binx and 3 year old Maddie. Sarah immediately falls apart, telling Nathan he cannot publish his book. But Nathan and Sarah have already spent the $50,000 advance on the novel and cannot stop the publisher. Not does Nathan desire to.
The relationship spirals downward, as Sarah cannot reconcile the husband she knows and loves with his public act of betrayal. Nathan’s lover, Kate Ryan, is a fiction writer. Sarah sees her past collide with the choices she has made to support Nathan and the betrayal becomes even more personal. Nathan says he will do whatever Sarah wants, but Sarah doesn’t know what she wants. She leaves her job and returns to Austin, Texas with the children and stays with her friend Helen. Sarah has a quick affair with a man she has kept in touch with for years, named Rajir, who is gorgeous and totally alluring. However, she misses Nathan’s devotion to her and to the children. When Nathan shows up at Helen’s, Sarah tells him she needs two days to decide what she wants. Nathan agrees to wait.
As Sarah reaches the core of who she is, as she sees the illusion of life with another man, she realizes that sometimes true living is the momentum of being a mother and wife. She finds herself in the same position as Nathan.
Sarah’s blinding self searching and ambivalence, grief and anger lead to her final truth. She steps into Oz and back to Kansas – because she can.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Book Review by Broad “A” – Ava
Husband and Wife: A Novel is available at Amazon.com $16.49
Thank you to the Harper Collins 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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