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Something Borrowed

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"Finally, a book about grown-ups," said Ellen Goodman of Something Borrowed, a sparkling love story of unresolved relationships and unexpected second chances. Gale and Gary are a divorced couple reunited, after fifteen years, at their son's wedding - where, to their own astonishment, old passions are rekindled. It's a novel "full of wise observation, mordant wit, and a fine comic sense . . . a pleasure to read" (San Francisco Chronicle).

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Something Borrowed

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Overview

"Finally, a book about grown-ups," said Ellen Goodman of Something Borrowed, a sparkling love story of unresolved relationships and unexpected second chances. Gale and Gary are a divorced couple reunited, after fifteen years, at their son's wedding - where, to their own astonishment, old passions are rekindled. It's a novel "full of wise observation, mordant wit, and a fine comic sense . . . a pleasure to read" (San Francisco Chronicle).

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Full of wise observation, mordant wit, and a fine comic sense...a pleasure to read." The San Francisco Chronicle
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In less sophisticated hands, this story of irresistible passion might have made a trite romance novel. But since Marshall is skilled in detecting the nuances of human relationships, it is a thoughtful, ruefully witty depiction of the pulls and perils of midlife erotic crisis. Their son's marriage brings Gale and Gary back to Boston 15 years after Gary's infidelity propelled their acrimonious divorce. Each has remarried: Gale to an older, staid Philadelphia heart surgeon; architect Gary for the third time to a sexy, somewhat vulgar Tucson realtor. When passion again rises during the wedding festivities, neither can resist. The two tumble into bedand marital crises. Both are forced to acknowledge past mistakes, and to relive their anger and remorse, as well as poignant memories of happier times. Though there is some suspense regarding just how much havoc Gale and Gary will create in their families' lives, the outcome is rarely in doubt, given Marshall's careful development of her protagonists' personalities. The interest lies more in her examination of the fault lines in marital and parental relationships, the minute and often resented adjustments of marriage, the demands of raising children and the guilt that can pervade that relationship. Marshall handles this well, and she adds contemporary nuances to the wedding itself: the groom is Protestant, the bride Jewish, the best man African American, etc. She is equally adept at evoking Boston's landmarks and atmosphere. But eventually the local color seems to act more as padding than necessary background, and even the illicit sex fails to give the narrative momentum. While illuminated by Marshall's sharp and honest eye, this work lacks the magic pull and buoyancy of her previous novels, Gus in Bronze and Tender Offer. June FYI: Marshall lives in Boston with her husband, National Book Award winner James Carroll.
Library Journal
In her latest novel, Marshall The Brass Bed, LJ 1/86 confects a bittersweet comedy of haute-bourgeois marriage. For 15 years, Gale has avoided her ex-husband, Gary, whose adultery provoked divorce, bitterness, and unresolved passions. When the pair is unwillingly reunited at their son's wedding in Boston, neither Gale's happy second marriage nor her expertise as a professional therapist protects her from the shock of her immediate sexual response to Gary. Gary's reaction is equally intense, and the emotional level of the weekend goes into overdrive. Gale and Gary desperately use an opportunity to slip away together, even as their spouses, friends, and relatives notice the possibility of a dangerous liaison. Plot complications worthy of a long-running soap opera ensue, but the author balances all this nicely with her deft characterizations and first-rate writing. A good candidate for vacation reading lists, this is recommended for pop-level collections where readers enjoy light but well-written fiction. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/1/97.]-Starr E. Smith, Marymount Univ. Lib., Arlington, Va.
Kirkus Reviews

Marshall's mature wit and sophisticated style are in evidence once again (as in Tender Offer, 1981, etc.), but a thin plot involving former spouses who fall back in love offers too little support for her philosophical musings.

Charlie Burr is marrying the girl next door, so it's not surprising that his mother, Gale, a psychotherapist, gets misty- eyed just looking at the couple on the night before the ceremony—despite the lurking presence of her own personal reminder of marriage's pitfalls, ex-husband Gary. In reality, though, Gary's arrival at the festivities isn't entirely unwelcome. Charlie loves his father, though irresponsible Gary wasn't around much while Charlie was growing up, and while Gary's been married twice more since divorcing Gale, his touch still sends a surprisingly powerful tingle down her spine. As the three-day festivities proceed, Gale and Gary manage to slip away from his younger wife, Sandra, and Gale's older husband, Bob, to explore the pluses and minuses of their breakup—and to spend a night in a hotel room remembering what they liked best about being a married pair. As Sandra maneuvers to win back her man, dragging Bob along, Gale and Gary's grown daughter agonizes over what her parents's possible reunion will do to her psyche and how she'll deal with her mother's lack of time for her. In the end, Gale admits to herself that too much time has passed for the fantasy of winning back Gary ever to come true, and though Gary is less than convinced, Sandra's determination is sufficient for both of them. The wedding party disperses, and the two couples head for different ends of the country, each a little older and wiser than before.

Wry, observant, and often amusing, but in need of more flesh on its bones.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395924891
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 1/21/1999
  • Pages: 252
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.57 (d)

Meet the Author

Alexandra Marshall is the author of Tender Offer, The Brass Bed, and Still Waters. She lives in Boston with her husband, the writer James Carroll, and their two children.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 9, 2010

    Starts off good...

    I read this book all the way through hoping something was going to get exciting, however I was very disappointed. The beginning of the book starts off well and you think there is going to be this great plot with excitement but it ends up dull and very unrealistic.

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