Wednesday 23 September 2015

The Three Weissmanns of Westport

Finished September 21
The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine

This novel is a delightful homage to Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility. As the book begins, Betty Weissman is being told by Josie her husband of 47 years that he no longer wants to be married to her. He doesn't tell her about the new woman in his life, someone he works with. Betty was a young widow when they married, bringing her two young daughters Annie and Miranda with her. They are devastated by the news, as Josie is the only father they've really known.
Miranda, a literary agent, is also going through a career meltdown as it becomes known that more than one of her authors has been making up the stories in their memoirs. She has always been an impulsive woman, never settling down and not good with money.
Annie is a library director and the responsible one. She is widowed with two sons in university, and spends a lot of time dealing with work.
When Josie forces Betty of out their New York City apartment, Betty's cousin Joseph offers a cottage in Westport, Connecticut to her for as long as she needs it. Miranda's situation brings her along as well, and Annie sublets her place and joins them to save money and organize things. With Betty's divorce drying up her source of funds, and Miranda's assets locked by the courts, it is Annie that provides the funds to live on.
With Joseph's frequent and lavish dinner parties, the three women get to know a wide variety of people, some helpful, some destructive. As the woman gradually re-examine their lives and find what is important to them, the learn new things about themselves along the way.
Funny, poignant, and intelligent, this novel was great fun to read.

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