A Crowded Marriage Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Crowded Marriage

This is the story of a lady who is struggling to keep her family together but ends up being betrayed by the least suspected person, her best friend. Imogen Cameron is an artist, a wife to Alex and a mother to Rufus. Her art career is not going down so well since she is unable to get into any relevant exhibition. Her best friend Kate tries to introduce her to a prominent artist, Casper who is supposed to give her a big break but it doesn't end well as Casper attempts to have an affair with her.
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When Alex and Imogen first met, Alex was married to Tilly but separated after their second baby and he was forced to move into a hotel room. His childhood friend Eleanor had always been there for him, but she had a family of her own which she was devoted to, despite having an affair with him occasionally. He ended up finding a confidant in Imogen who at that time was his secretary at American bank. Their friendship went to another level and they started dating but Imogen got pregnant and was planning to leave him because she thought he had had his fair share of misery in life. Alex however refused to let her go and even went ahead to propose marriage so that they could bring up the child together. Imogen agreed to this despite their fifteen years age gap.
At this point in time, Cameron's family is not doing well financially since they are over burdened with mortgages, overdrafts and the bills. Alex is the sole bread winner since Imogen is still trying to get her art works on the lane. Eleanor who is living in a huge country house suggests that they move into one of her cottages for free and according to Alex, this is the best idea. Imogen however is not comfortable with Eleanor since she knows that they had been having an affair when Alex was married to Tilly. She perceives this as an opportunity for Eleanor to have more access to her husband.
The thought of them going bankrupt and having to transfer Rufus to a state school is however too traumatizing and it forces her to accept the offer as well. The realization that her husband might be losing his job soon also contributes to her decision. Imogen seeing that Alex would have a difficult time commuting to London every day requests Kate to accommodate him in her basement. Rufus starts school in their new home town and he seems to be getting along well with his new friends.
Eleanor's husband, Piers is a kind man and through his help, Imogen and Rufus are able to settle in fast. She realizes that Eleanor and her husband are no longer interested in each other and this even makes her more comfortable. Eleanor is seeing local teacher and even gets pregnant with him forcing her to leave Piers and move in with the teacher. Imogen on the other hand gets a rude shock when she realizes Alex is having an affair with Kate. She gets to know of this affair when she travels to London to watch Kate perform at a play. Unknown to her however, Kate has not been performing for a couple of months now. She leaves the theater hoping to hook up with Alex for a drink and while driving to their favorite bar, she spots him and Kate kissing on the street.
According to her, it seems impossible for Alex to live without having an affair outside marriage and this is what she refers to as a crowded marriage. She backs out and goes back to the country side, after letting Alex know that it's over between them. She meets with the village vet who has gone through a similar ordeal with his wife, who ran off with his best man and they become good friends. Piers allows Imogen and Rufus to continue living in the cottage even after learning of her separation with Alex.
Best part of story, including ending: I like the fact that the story highlights issues of infidelity in marriage, something that is killing families even in today's world.

Best scene in story: My favorite part is when Imogen decides to confront Kate and Alex, and the manner in which she informs them that she had seen them earlier on. They are caught out in a way that they cannot defend themselves.

Opinion about the main character: I like the fact that Imogen is able to move on even after getting disappointed. She manages to put her life back on track again.

The review of this Book prepared by Zipporah a Level 4 Yellow-Headed Blackbird scholar

Chapter Analysis of A Crowded Marriage

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   depressed Time/era of story    -   1980's-1999 Romance/Romance Problems    -   Yes Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Married, fooling around?    -   Yes Married Love Triangle?    -   Multiple Men and Women (Love Polygon)

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   artist Age:    -   20's-30's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   British


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () Europe    -   Yes European country:    -   England/UK

Writing Style

Sex in book?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   vague references only Amount of dialog    -   significantly more descript than dialog

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Catherine Alliott Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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