The Senator's wife is told from the two main characters: Meri, a young married transplant, and Delia, an older, wiser woman who is married to an ex senator, but living separately from him. The stories toggle back and forth between the two even recounting some of the same instances, and begins in 1993, and ends in present day, 2007. In my opinion, the novel starts off slow as the background is set, but picks up about halfway through. It is worth it to trudge along to get to the real story. This is the first book I have read by Sue Miller. I do not know if I will pick up any of her others, but I am glad I finished this book about imperfect marriages, and non traditional women who make their own paths.
givebooksgirl reviewed The Senator's Wife (Vintage Contemporaries) on
Helpful Score: 2
I like how the main character Meri in The Senators Wife, yearns for a healthy mother-daughter bond. I was drawn to this part of the storyline in a unique way. I am a woman easily enticed by older, grandmotherly women willing to share their advice and life history. I like how Delia (a mother for more than 50 years and the wife of a philandering senator) who is Meris neighbor fills this role and takes a motherly interest in Meri. Since Meri is a newly married woman she is curious about the marriage of Delia. Or is she just needy because she is missing something in her relationship with her new husband? The young bride learns things about the older womans marriage that at first repulse her but, I believe, later are perceived by Meri with caution because she herself learns how a marriage can sometimes take a course you never dreamed it could take. I like comparing the fates of the two marriages and taking into consideration what each woman wants and desires versus the actual outcomes of those desires. Expect to be surprised in typical Miller style and know this wont be a book you will easily forget.
It took me a while to get into this book. The first chapter introduces you to a somewhat dark, depressing character, some 4-letter words related to sex, and just generally read slow. I wasn't sure I was going to want to continue reading.
Then the story picks up, and the character seems to be coming into her own.
I enjoyed reading it for the most part, despite the fact that I didn't like how sex seemed to be on everyone's minds much of the time and some of the author's choice of words were uncouth and a bit offensive.
But I did enjoy the story as it developed and it held my interest throughout.
However....the culmination left me disturbed. That's all I will say so as not to spoil the ending if you are planning to read the book.
This is a good read for mature women. Worth quoting: "She thought this might be the momentwhen the grown children swept in and irresistibly took over your life. When you could no longer say no, because it was so clear that all the things you thought of as belonging to you were in the process of becoming theirs - their possessions, and, of course, their heavy burdens, too: your life, your spouse's life, your illness, his illness, your death. The moment when you owed them something, when you had to give way, out of a kind of fairness to them; and then also because you just didn't have the strength left anymore to fight."
I read this book in 2 days. I fell in love with Delia and her devotion. Then it took a weird twist that I did not care for too much. I was disappointed in the last few chapters and where the author went with the story and the 2 ladies.
This was a great read. The characters were believable and well developed, and the ending was a complete surprise. Makes you think about motherhood as well as the aging process. Covers both ends of the spectrum. Enjoyable book!
Miller's writing is so precise, you feel every emotion, you can see every thought. You are there. This is an excellent novel of admiration, love and betrayal. When Meri and Nathan move in next door to the senator's wife, you sense trouble. the story slowly builds tension as you being to realize you don't quite trust Meri. I hated to see the story end even though Miller wraps up all the loose ends. What a great read!
Listened to this as an audio book in the car. The main character Meri is not very likable, sneaky and is passive-aggressive. I found the book to be dull and looked forward to it being over. The ending is a little shocking, but even more so is Meri's justification for her marriage-destroying behavior while she leads her "happily ever after" life.