After All These Years: A Novel

After All These Years: A Novel

by Susan Isaacs


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After All These Years: A Novel by Susan Isaacs

The day after her lavish wedding anniversary bash, Rosie Meyers gets a big surprise: her nouveau riche husband, Richie, is leaving her for a sultry, sophisticated, size-six MBA. So, when he's found murdered in their exquisitely appointed kitchen, no one is surprised to find Rosie's prints all over the weapon.

The suburban English teacher is the prime suspect -- the police's only suspect. And she knows she'll spend the rest of her life in the prison library unless she can unmask the real killer. Going into Manhattan on the lam, Rosie learns more about Richie than she ever wanted to know. And more about herself than she ever dreamed possible.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060563738
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/24/2008
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 376,086
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Susan Isaacs is the bestselling author of eleven novels, two screenplays, and one work of nonfiction. She lives on Long Island.


Sands Point, New York

Date of Birth:

December 7, 1943

Place of Birth:

Brooklyn, New York


Honorary Doctorate, Queens College

Read an Excerpt


After nearly a quarter of a century of marriage, Richie Meyers, my husband, told me to call him Rick. Then he started slicking back his hair with thirty-five-dollar-a-jar English pomade.

Okay, I admit I was annoyed. But in all fairness, wasn't Richie entitled to a life crisis? He was just two years from fifty. His jaw wasn't so much chiseled from granite anymore as sculpted from mashed potatoes. His hairline and his gums were receding at about the same rate. And when his shirt was off, he'd eye his chest hair in disbelief, as if some practical joker had plunked a gray toupee between his pectorals.

Well, I could empathize. At eleven months younger than Richie, I didn't exactly qualify as a spring chicken. Still, unless a man's taste ran to prepubescent milkmaids with braids, I would probably be considered somewhere between attractive and downright pretty. Shiny dark hair. Clear skin. Even features. Hazel eyes with green specks that I liked to think of as glints of emerald. Plus one hell of a set of eyelashes. And not a bad body either, although in the fight between gravity and me, gravity was winning; no matter how many abdominal crunches I did, I would never again be tempted to include getting my panties ripped off in broad daylight as a detail of a sexual fantasy.

Like Richie, I wasn't so crazy about growing old, especially since I had at last come to appreciate the unlikelihood of immortality. A person who can laugh in the face of eternal nothingness is a schmuck. So my heart went out to him. And I made a sincere effort to call him Rick. But after all those years of "Richie," I'd slip up every so often—like in bed. I cried out,"Oh, God! Don't stop, Rich . . . Rick." But by then he was shriveling, and seconds later, it looked as if he'd Scotch-taped a shrimp to his pubic area.

The signs were there, all right. I just didn't read them. That's how come I was surprised when, on the bright blue June morning after our silver anniversary party, which we'd celebrated on what our real estate broker had called the Great Lawn behind our house, in a white tent festooned with creamy roses and thousands of twinkly white lights, Richie told me he was leaving me for his senior vice-president, for—his voice softened, then melted—Jessica.

Jessica Stevenson had been one of the two hundred guests the night before. In fact, Richie had fox-trotted with her to a Cole Porter medley that had included "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To." Yes, Jessica was a younger woman. But not obnoxiously so. Richie wasn't one of those fiftyish guys who run off with twenty-two-year-old Lufthansa stewardesses. At thirty-eight, Jessica was a mere nine years younger than I. Unfortunately, she had luminous aquamarine eyes and was learning Japanese for the fun of it.

At what turned out to be the final party of my marriage, I kept waiting for Richie to say: "Look at you, Rosie! As beautiful as the day we were married!" He didn't. In the humid night air, the pleated, Grecian-style white silk gown that had caressed my curves in the fitting room at Bergdorf Goodman clung to my bosom and legs with crazed malice.

Jessica, naturally, did not look as if she'd wrapped herself in a wet sheet. No. She glowed in a gold lam‚ off-the-shoulder bodysuit tucked into a transparent cream chiffon skirt that hung, petal-like, in soft panels; her top was divided from her bottom by a four-inch-wide gold leather belt. It goes without saying she had a slender waist—although to be perfectly candid, her bosom was nothing Richie would normally have written home about; she was fairly flat, except for those overenthusiastic nipples men go crazy for, the kind that look like the erasers on number two pencils.

I had actually blown her a kiss as I raced by, searching for the caterer to tell him that a guest, Richie's banker's girlfriend, had converted to vegan vegetarianism the previous weekend. Jessica, in awesomely high-heeled gold sandals, was standing with a couple of the other Data Associates executives, laughing, squeezing a wedge of lime into her drink. She waved back with her usual energy: Rosie! Hello! With her gold bodysuit and the bronze highlights in her dark-gold hair, she looked shimmery, magical, almost like a mermaid.

But that Richie would actually leave me for her? Please! He and I had a history. We'd met in the late sixties, for God's sake, when we were both teaching at Forest Hills High School in Queens. We had made a life together. A rich life—long before all the money. We had children. So yes, I was surprised. Okay, stunned.

Across our bedroom, Richie's black-olive eyes were overflowing. He gulped noisy mouthfuls of air and was so choked up I could barely hear him. "I can't believe I'm saying this, Rosie." As he wiped his tears away with the heel of his hand, he turned crying into a manly act. "What gets me"—his chest heaved—"is that"—he sobbed, unable to hold anything back—"it sounds so damn trite."

"Please, Richie, tell me."

"For the first time in years, I feel truly alive."

The late-morning air was hot, sugary with honeysuckle, a reminder that lovely, sweaty summer sex was just weeks away. But, as the song goes, not for me. In spite of the season, I shivered and pulled the blanket tight around my shoulders. Sure, I was cold, but I suppose I also had the subconscious hope that all bundled up, lower lip quivering, I'd be an irresistible package.

I wasn't.

Richie was. With his combed-back steel-gray hair, his rich-man's tan, his hand-tailored white slacks and crisp white shirt and white lizard loafers, he looked like an ex-husband who had outgrown his wife. But his face was wet. His tears were real. "Rosie, I'm so sorry."

I couldn't think of a comeback. I just cried. He shifted his weight from one loafer to the other, and then back again. The confrontation was either horribly distressing or it was running longer than he'd expected and he had a lunch date. "Richie," I sobbed, "you'll get over her!" As fast as I could, I changed it to "Rick, please! I love you so much!" but by then it was much too late.

That summer, I went through all the scorned-first-wife stages. Hysteria. Paralysis. Denial: Of course Richie will give up a worldly, successful, fertile, size-six financial whiz-bang for a suburban high school English teacher. Despair: spending my nights zonked on the Xanax I'd conned my gynecologist into prescribing, regretting it was not general anesthesia.

I was utterly alone. Husband gone. Kids grown and off on their own. And our beagle, Irving, died the first week in August. I wandered through the house, weeping, remembering Richie's body heat, the children's warmth, Irving's cold and loving nose.

At least wandering was exercise. When Richie hit it big, he did not believe that less was more. More was more. One day we were in our Cape Cod, with its original, early sixties all-avocado kitchen, its off-the-track storm windows, its cockeyed basketball hoop over its one-car garage. The next, we were two and a half miles north, right on Long Island Sound in Great Gatsby country, in a Georgian-style house so stately it actually had a name. Gulls' Haven.

Admittedly, a nocturnal wanderer in a New York Shakespeare Festival T-shirt, pointlessly sexy black panties, and Pan Am socks left over from our last first-class flight to London (before Richie got even richer and we started taking the Concorde) given to rambles through a deserted house clutching a wad of damp Kleenex wasn't the picture "Gulls' Haven" ought to have evoked. But it was the truth. That's how it was on that fateful night.

Fateful? To tell you the truth, that night didn't seem any more or less ominous than any other. When we'd moved, Richie had ditched the digital radio-alarm on his night table for a brass carriage clock, so I'll never know the precise time I woke up or, more important, what wakened me. But it was around three-thirty. I realized I wouldn't get any more sleep because I was scared to take any more Xanax. My luck, the next pill could be the one to put me in what the doctors would diagnose as a persistent vegetative state. Richie, driven by guilt, would pay for the best custodial care, so I'd spend the last three decades of my life cosmically desolate and unable to read, a prisoner in the solitary confinement of my own body.

I wandered some more. When Richie had taken the hike that last week in June, he'd made the twenty-six-mile trip west into Manhattan with just an overnight bag. How could a guy want to leave nearly his whole life behind? But I was past sniffling in front of the closets full of his custom-tailored suits, touching the toes of his handmade shoes. I was able to get past them, and past his bathroom too, all rich green marble and chunky gold fixtures; we'd made love in his stall shower the first night we'd moved in.

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After All These Years 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
SNOOKY61 More than 1 year ago
Highly recommend this book. Ms. Isaacs certainly has a way with words.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Susan has given us another book to love!! She writes with such humor and 'real' feelings -- and her works are so smooth and seem to really flow -- there is NEVER a good stopping place so be prepared to keep reading! You will be 'hooked' from page one. A real 'meaty' novel.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anyone with that much money twentyfive years married couldnt be that dumb. An immediate call to the divorce lawyer for immediate referral would have had her lawyered up and unavailable as she would be under a doctors care for shock. Dont forget that the will and settlement of the estate would be a big thing for the lawyers too and take a few years who was appointed administrator? just why these very very rich women were still teaching high school would make them the most hated among their peers unless it was a private school they owned a big piece of. Better to borrow than archive one of these days will learn to delite especially samples
TdeV More than 1 year ago
Feeling a little underappreciated? In need of a bit of a lift? Susan Isaacs’ AFTER ALL THESE YEARS will give you a kick, enable you to trounce that enemy Time, and restore your faith in the world. I read it in one sitting, caring neither for food nor drink—though possibly I did have a nibble now and then.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book tremendously... quite different than your usual murder mystery, and quite funny! Will read other books by this author!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Susan Isaacs' account of a marriage gone bad and secrets revealed. Her characters are believable and her plot different from the norm. She is one of my favorite writers. I only wish she were more prolific.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
My first book by this author. I like the way susan writes with humor and keeps you guessing until the very end.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am 14, and I LOVE reading this type of book. I absolutley loved this book. I just grabbed it off the shelf to look like I was doing something constructive, but then started reading it, and found it quite interesting. I finished the book in about 5 days! I recomended the book to my mother and grandmother and they both read and loved it!