Sunday, July 16, 2017


It’s overly long, but I enjoyed this novel immensely.  Jack Mauser has had 5 wives, 4 of whom are still living.  When these women convene at his funeral, they find something to like in each other and have a chance to tell their stories when they become stranded in a car in a snowstorm.  Also in the car is a well-disguised hitchhiker whose identity remains a mystery while each woman is telling her tale and clearing the tailpipe so that they can turn on the heat now and then.  Eleanor is quite possibly Jack’s best match, but she’s a college professor with a propensity for affairs with students.  Candice is a dentist who wants to raise Jack’s infant son, borne by wild child Marlis.  Finally, there’s Dot, who keeps the books for Jack’s construction company and is still married to and in love with a man serving prison time when she marries Jack.  She may be a bigamist, but she is the most in the dark about Jack’s past.  All four are colorful and fascinating and sometimes manipulative, especially Marlis, so that in some ways Jack is the victim of some very imaginative women, not to mention his own impetuosity.  This novel may be about the women, but Jack himself is the character who binds them all together.  He’s dashing and charming and good-hearted but drinks too much and isn’t ever faithful to the wife of the moment.  Some of the occurrences in the novel are a bit preposterous, but I don’t mind a bit of levity to lighten up dire circumstances, and this novel has both a raging fire and a raging blizzard.  During the latter, some serious female bonding is offset by a bit of righteous indignation that’s both funny and horrifying at the same time.

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