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Contemporary women coping with marriages under stress are the stuff of Fielding's novels ( The Deep End , 1986; The Other Woman , 1983), and here she serves up a twofer. Social worker Lynn Schuster meets Marc Cameron after their spouses run off with each other, and there is a mutual attraction beyond curiosity and the desire for revenge. Shaken, Lynn turns to divorce lawyer Renee Bower for advice. And Renee ("Rhymes with beanie"), who's eating herself into obesity because of her philandering, manipulative psychiatrist husband, scheming stepdaughter, and suicidal sister, seeks Lynn during a crisis. If plot turns are occasionally broadly signaled, and some of the minor characters are stock, still the pace is brisk and the appeal and underlying strength of Lynn and Renee prevails. Another Fielding popular favorite.
I loved Lynn, her children and the man who eventually became her lover. Her husband jilts her and the husband of the woman who is having an affair with Lynn's husband becomes Lynn's lover. In short, they switch partners. Lynn's lover is a nice person, where as her husband paired off with a barracuda.
Renee Bowers (I agree with another reader -- I wish her name was pronounced like Renee, rhymes with day instead of Renee, rhymes with beanie) is the divorce attorney. Her husband is a cold, unloving and very cruel man who bears a mirror image to Renee's tyrannical father. His daughter Debbie from a previous marriage is no prize, either. Debbie is her daddy's daughter, all right. She is a step daughter to beware of! I didn't like Debbie from the start and she and her nasty father Philip deserved each other. Renee was a fool to put up with their tyranny and cruelty.
Debbie was sneaky, spoiled, spiteful and mean. For example, early in the book, 16-year-old Debbie cries about a nightmare she allegedly has about Renee killing her father in a car accident. It is hard to believe that a 16-year-old would wake up crying about a stupid dream. I, for one, don't believe she dreamed it. I was also disgusted with Philip's allowing himself to be taken in by his wretched daughter. All Debbie did was cause friction and try to pry Renee and Philip apart. I actually cheered when Renee finally slapped the loathsome, nasty girl good and hard across her face and told her where to go. I was glad that Renee appeared in a later book ("See Jane Run") and had the good sense to jump her father's ship, Philip's ship and disgusting Debbie's ship once and for good.