This sixth novel by Graham (Dog Days, Glenn Miller Nights; etc.) gets off to a slow start, but once it picks up its pace, it delivers a true, funny and wry portrait of six women friends from WWII to the 1990s, as well as of America's changing social mores and attitudes. Peggy Dewey, wife of Air Force pilot Vern, meets Audrey, Gayle, Lois, Betty and Kath, all Air Force wives, while Vern is on assignment in England during WWII. Though these women would most likely never have been friends under other circumstances, friends they become, and over the years Peggy is their linchpin, keeping in contact with everyone through good times and bad. The lives of the women take turns they never would have imagined as traditional military wives. Audrey's upwardly mobile officer husband dies; Gayle, the nervous young bride with the alcohol problem, becomes a famous faith healer; Betty, the "pie crust queen," has problems with her children; Lois bears a child outside of her marriage, passing it off as her husband's, though the girls suspect the truth; Kath, their English friend, and Peggy, start their own businesses. Through it all, they stay in touch, supporting, counseling and wisecracking all the way. By the end, readers will feel so close to the girls they'll be shedding tears of sheer recognition. Graham has truly captured women's friendships through thick and thin, and Peggy is a gem-matter-of-fact, grounded, funny and fresh. If readers can get past the stodgy beginning, this novel should sell itself by word of mouth. (Oct.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
In 1952, five women bond when their husbands are stationed on the same U.S. Air Force base in England. Peggy Dewey, a no-nonsense Texan, narrates the saga of their friendship, which expands to include Kath Pharaoh, an Englishwoman they meet at King George's funeral procession. The six women go through 47 years of births, divorces, illnesses, deaths, and amazing career changes. The fast-forward ending, more of an epilog, is a bit of a disappointment, not because it's poorly written but because you're reluctant to say good-bye to Peg and her friends so abruptly. Fans of such novels as Rebecca Wells's Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, Maeve Binchy's Circle of Friends, Terry McMillan's Waiting To Exhale, and other female friendship titles will relish the humor and pathos, as well as the well-defined characters, who maintain their connection to one another for almost half a century. Graham, the author of 15 books, both fiction (The Man for the Job) and nonfiction (The Parent's Survival Guide), has also written radio plays for the BBC. A welcome addition to most popular fiction collections.-Shelley Mosley, Glendale P.L., AZ Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
A decades-long chronicle of friendship among five not terribly likable Americans and one Brit who meet while the Americans' pilot husbands are stationed in 1952 England. Peggy, resentful but dutiful wife of Vern and mother to Crystal, narrates with a semiliterate Texas twang that is not only irritating but indistinguishable from the voices of her friends, including Brooklyn-born Lois and midwestern Audrey. Betty, also from Texas, is the most domestic of the bunch (even though she's married to the wife-beater). Lois drinks and cheats on her dopey but sweet husband Herb. Gayle just drinks, especially after she loses not one but two husbands to military deaths. Audrey is criticized for sucking up, probably because her husband, unlike the others, actually succeeds in his ambitions. But all are amazingly dimwitted, almost caricatures of ignorant Americans, arrogant toward their British hosts. The local Norfolk woman, Kath, with whom they strike up a friendship lives in abject poverty but shows a spark the others lack. The loose plot follows the women from 1950s England to 1990s America as husbands drop out of the service and marriages flounder or dissolve. Restive Lois stays with her saintly Herb and becomes a devoted grandmother. Gayle ends up a rich TV evangelist. Audrey is widowed when her high-ranking husband chokes on a piece of meat. And Kath completely turns her life around, opening a driving school with money she receives after a flood destroys her childhood home. When her marriage fizzles, Peggy becomes a wedding planner, though her newfound and exquisite taste is hard to believe. Betty turns more complicated and more interesting than the others as her upbeat approach, annoyinglyrose-colored at first, takes on a feisty dignity after she leaves her husband and struggles, with limited success, to raise her three daughters alone. British author Graham's sixth novel, but first US appearance, covers all the usual bases of matinee fiction, from abusive husbands to death by cancer, plus (minimal) sex and a smattering of recipes.