Happiness Sold Separately

Author: Lolly Winston. The marriage of Ted and Elinor Mackey, a yuppie podiatrist-lawyer couple in their early-40s living in Northern California, is pushed to the brink when Elinor learns that Ted is having an affair with his trainer, Gina Ellison. Elinor’s reaction—pity—surprises her. Winston (Good Grief) adroitly makes it clear that Ted’s affair is a symptom: infertility problems have caused years of emotional turmoil. And Gina’s no bimbo: she has a loving but difficult relationship with Ted, complicated further by her young son, Toby, and his immediate attachment to Ted as a stable father figure. When Elinor confronts Ted and Gina, Ted quickly ends the affair; neither is sure if infidelity or infertility should end their marriage. During their separation, Elinor takes a sabbatical from her law firm and casually dates Noah Orch, a hunky but dull arborist. Ted haphazardly resumes his relationship with Gina. As he realizes that his connection to her is more than an escape from a bad marriage, all concerned have decisions to make. Winston has a real feel for the push and pull of a marriage in crisis, and delivers it in a brisk, funny, no-nonsense style that still comes off as respectful of the material. (Aug.)
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