" I can think of no writer I'd rather have sing me songs of the sea, even sad ones, than Maryann McFadden. The characters in So Happy Together will speak to you, and the best ones -- Claire, Fanny, Amy, John -- all have the ocean in their voices."
"In SO HAPPY TOGETHER, Maryann McFadden deftly weaves a story of three generations of women and the men who orbit around them. With a sure touch, she writes about the mother-daughter bond, the simple pleasures to be found in cooking, the pervasive nature of guilt, and the power of forgiveness. Ultimately she explores the ways that growth is possible at every stage in life, if only we remain open -- and how unexpected changes can lead us to places we never imagined."
" I can think of no writer I'd rather have sing me songs of the sea, even sad ones, than Maryann McFadden. The characters in So Happy Together will speak to you, and the best ones Claire, Fanny, Amy, John all have the ocean in their voices."Anne Rivers Siddons, author of Off Season
"In SO HAPPY TOGETHER, Maryann McFadden deftly weaves a story of three generations of women and the men who orbit around them. With a sure touch, she writes about the mother-daughter bond, the simple pleasures to be found in cooking, the pervasive nature of guilt, and the power of forgiveness. Ultimately she explores the ways that growth is possible at every stage in life, if only we remain open and how unexpected changes can lead us to places we never imagined."Christina Baker Kline, author of The Way Life Should Be and Bird In Hand
McFadden overreaches in her follow-up to The Richest Season, a too-busy family drama overflowing with common conundrums. Claire Noble, at 45, believes she's on the cusp of a new, liberated life-she's one year away from early retirement; her daughter, Amy, is grown and out of the house; and she and her fiancé, Rick, are planning to move from New Jersey to Arizona, where they can pursue their passions (photography for her, golf for him). The plans soon turn into pipe dreams when a massively pregnant Amy returns home, Claire's father's Parkinson's disease rapidly advances, and Rick has trouble coping with it all. In the midst of chaos, Claire drags her family to Provincetown, Mass., where she'll take part in a prestigious photography workshop while the town's romantic charms work their magic on Claire's clan. But with so many complications constantly disrupting the lives of major and minor characters, it's difficult to connect much less keep up with who's suffering from what. McFadden's prose has its moments of clarity and emotion, but the narrative leans too heavily on phoned-in sentiment to make an impact. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
A middle-aged woman anticipates new freedom, only to have troubles land on her with a vengeance, in McFadden's follow-up to The Richest Season (2008). Claire, 45, is ready to get out of Jersey. She's winding up 25 years of teaching, has taken up serious study of photography and is engaged to marry Rick, a golf-loving hedonist with an Arizona townhouse. Then Claire's estranged daughter Amy, 23, returns home, her weight problem apparently worse than ever-until she gives birth just as her mother is about to leave for a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: a career-making photography workshop in Cape Cod. Claire is now stuck with a resentful daughter, a newborn granddaughter, Rose, whose paternity Amy won't discuss, and elderly parents who rely mostly on her, since out-of-state brother Eugene is too busy with his own career and family. Claire's father Joe has Parkinson's, and her mother Fanny, increasingly addled at 77, can't cope. The workshop and the wedding must wait, but what is she going to do about John, the freelance writer who's supposed to be renting her house while she's in Provincetown? He finds another place, but he wants to use her photographs in an article on New Jersey's abandoned canal system; working with John, Claire finds herself dangerously attracted. Then she gets another chance at the workshop, and with Amy, Rose and her parents (sprung from assisted living) in tow, Claire heads for Cape Cod. There, Joe tries to reconnect with a wartime love, Ava. Upset that Joe has never come clean with her about Ava, Fanny seeks solace in Buddhism and romance with local restaurateur Dominick. Provincetown also happens to be home base for John, who is working to publicize the plight ofendangered whales and seals. The ever-escalating complications are fun, but this story of second chances smacks of middle-aged wish-fulfillment: There's even a scene in which Rick and John fight over Claire. A busy plot, rendered in listless prose and populated by one-dimensional characters.
So Happy Together is an honest book . . . that will resonate with many women who struggle to care for family members and themselves.