Since the Ramsey’s left their Barstow backwater on Route 66 in January, Belle had become graver and the adjustment period showed no signs of lifting (p 8).
In the early hours of morning in quaint Encinitas, California, Darlene is making love to her semi-conscious husband, Lance, when their ten-year-old daughter Belle walks in the room. Frightened by what she sees and already unhappy about the family’s recent move, Belle becomes even more distant from her mother. She clings to her stay-at-home father, a former weather-man turned caregiver who reflects on his role as father in flashbacks to his own childhood.
Eager to have another child, Lance and Darlene struggle to connect emotionally when getting physical. It doesn’t help that Lance has been engaging in frequent tantric sex with Wren, the wife of Darlene’s business partner nor that Darlene has been flirting with Alec, the aforementioned business partner and cuckold.
With a dry sort of humor, this novel moves ahead quickly, propelled by a sense of doom by fire foreshadowed at the start. While it lags in some areas, all comes to a head at the conclusion when everyone seems hell-bent on either sacking or disparaging Lance, the househusband who’s good at the house bit but lousy as a husband.
I appreciated the blunt and sometimes humourous nature with which the marital issues were handled, though some of the dialog seemed like prepared campaign speeches.
Library copy | Thomas Dunne Books | January 18, 2011 | ISBN 978-0312656669 | Adult | 304 pages | $23.99