Mirelle Martin was different from all of the other housewives she met. Her mother was a famous soprano who married a handsome English lord, but he was not Mirelle's father. No, Mirelle's father was the Hungarian portrait painter, Lajos Neagu, who had an affair with Mirelle's mother while he painted her. In order to save her marriage, Mirelle's mother was forced to send her to live with a friend in the US where Mirelle grew up.
Mirelle knew that her background was unusual, but she didn't really think it was anything to be ashamed of, until she met Steve. Steve was wonderful when they first met, so handsome and playful with her, unlike all of the other men that she knew. After they married, Mirelle tried her hardest to become the perfect wife and mother for their three children. Her past did not come up often and it didn't seem to matter to anyone - until her father died and left her some art in his will, acknowledging her as his daughter. Steve's parents were humiliated and made Mirelle feel cheap and unwanted. In order to spare them any embarrassment, Mirelle never talked about her past and tried to give up her sculpting to see to Steve's needs.
Steve was a salesman and traveled a lot in his work for the company. Mirelle tried to make new friends when they moved and that is how she first met Lucy, who tried to make Mirelle stand up for herself and her art and to be someone instead of just Steve's wife. But when Steve's job forced them to move again, Mirelle couldn't stand the heartbreak of leaving more friends behind so she isolated herself. When she heard of Lucy's death, it sparked a change within her and Mirelle started sculpting again, started living again. Then she met James Howell, the handsome pianist who lived nearby and an attraction developed between them. Mirelle was lonely and Steve was so judgmental these days, she needed someone who understood the urge to create and to display talent in an artistic way. But was Mirelle ready to make such big changes in her life? As Mirelle lives through the year after her friend's death, she risks everything to make her life more meaningful...
As I expected from McCaffrey, this book is well written and the characters are quite engaging, especially Mirelle, who really blossomed in this book. I wish that we could have seem more of Lucy and I felt that Steve was a kind of shadow figure, but, for the most part, the secondary characters were fun to get to know. I didn't particularly enjoy the relationship between Mirelle & James, who became more than just friends at one point in the book. Mirelle is married and knows that Steve has cheated on her while he is away on sales trips, but she justifies her relationship with James by saying that she doesn't care about sex, it is just an act and means nothing. This really turned me off and I felt that the romance between Steve & Mirelle and Mirelle & James was shallow and neither man meant that much to Mirelle. I enjoyed watching Mirelle grow and her sculpting develop, but this book is basically a story about two love triangles, Mirelle's mother, her husband & the handsome painter and Mirelle, her husband & her handsome neighbor with history being repeated. I can understand why the book went out of print because it is a bit dated in its context and it is hard to justify a husband and wife both cheating on each other and thinking that it didn't matter.
This report prepared by Debbie