Warner, Jun 2003, 24.95, 309 pp.
A quarter of a century ago, when she was eighteen and doing Europe with her grandma, Lee Emery met and fell in love with Englishman Simon. Later Lee married Ben, a nice but somewhat boring professor, who still cherishes her as if they are newlyweds though they have had three children. Both seem contented together in a serene safe life.
However, Lee reads the book she helped bring to press, her grandmother's memoirs, Mainely Marguerite, which includes a passage describing Lee's first love. Suddenly, Lee acts out of character and questions her present lifestyle with a melancholy is that all there is? After sending a copy of the book to Simon, Lee scrambles to Europe trying to decide whether to take a second chance on a first teenage love or chicken out to return to the safety of her brood?
Title pun aside, this is an intriguing look at middle age with empty nest beckoning and the past feeling more like a positive nostalgia trip. Lee is a fabulous protagonist struggling between what she feels is an awakening that her lackluster sheltered life cannot be why she is breathing vs. the excitement of what she first felt as a teen. Will the reality equal the memory or will she conclude that you can never go home and the bird in hand is best?
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner