A sincere and compassionate novel about the complications of married life, and the love, loathing, pain, loyalty, disappointments and friendship that grow out of a marriage.
Channel City, California, is a an average coastal town where everyone is doing their best to get by and be respectable, from the sun-grizzled fishermen on the wharf to the perfectly coifed society wives to the over-fed gophers who plague every middle-class garden. But in the hot summer of 1954, one unhappy man's extramarital affair turns the community on its head.
Hazel Anderson, a dental assistant, is a contentedly divorced forty-something whose ex-husband, George, runs the town's wharf bar. Hazel worries about George, who is smitten with a much younger woman, Ruby, who won't have anything to do with him, and Hazel thinks Ruby is hiding secrets of her own. The dentist Hazel assists, Gordon Foster, works hard to support his wife and three children in their middle-class lifestyle, but he can never satisfy his wife, Elaine, who has always resented being married to a dentist instead of a "real" doctor. All of these relationships become tangled when henpecked Gordon's romantic indiscretion comes to light.
Here, in this sweet, sad, and incisive literary novel, Margaret Millar accomplishes the same feat as she has with her award-winning crime fiction by offering readers a fascinating snapshot of life as it was, not life as we like to remember it having been.