By Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney
Ecco, 9780062876003, April 6, 2021, 320pp.
The Short of It:
Marriage for some, is like walking a tightrope without a net.
The Rest of It:
When Julian and Flora first met, they were both struggling artists in the process of finding themselves. Scraping to get by was never enjoyable but there was something to be said for blood, sweat and tears and being able to build something together meant something. Good Company, a small theatre group born out of Julian’s dreams to run his own theatre took center stage for many years but when they each started to have their own successes with acting and then had a beautiful daughter of their own, they moved to Los Angeles and there, the romantic lure of acting wasn’t as shiny as it was when they were newly married yet still an important part of who they were.
The benefit to being in Los Angeles is that Flora is once again close to her dear friends Margo and David. Margo, also an actress but much more recognizable than Flora had ever been, is the friend that always grounds Flora no matter what is going on. Years and years of friendship and Margot’s own challenges with her husband who suffered a stroke, do nothing but bond them tighter together. That’s why Flora finds herself completely lost when a secret comes out and she’s not sure if she can turn to Margot for support.
This is one of those dishy reads that you zip through. There is a lot of mature drama. Marriage difficulties, insecurities, trying to keep up appearances for your adult child, the threat of an empty nest, success and what happens to a relationship when it’s been strained. Flora and Julian’s story is intermingled with that of Margot’s and I found it to be a good balance. This isn’t an “escape” read because it’s too rooted in real life for that feeling to overcome you but I didn’t mind spending time with these characters and felt that the ending was appropriately realistic.
I think I felt the same way about Sweeney’s previous book, The Nest. A good read but probably not one that will stick with me. I would have liked the story to go a bit deeper into Flora’s character. She had a lot going on and was presented with some very difficult choices. I would have appreciated more of her.
I don’t usually give starred ratings here on the blog, but I do on GoodReads and I’d give this one a solid three stars if that helps.
Source: Review copy provided by the publisher.
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