A widower finds an envelope long after his wife has passed away--what he discovers inside destroys all his assumptions about his marraige and the happiness he thought he had shared with his wife.
This begins an intricate tale in which a group of characters--all who either were related to or knew the deceased--must come to grips with the assumptions they made about her, and how those assumptions might ultimately be implicated in her early death. It is a book about self-asorbtion, longing, and the quest for the greatest meaning in life--that of love.
This is a beautifully written book with characters that are deeply felt, clearly defined, and very disticnt, and quite real.
I also loved how Lively took the theme of assumptions and applied it to beauty: the main character (who is seen only in flashbacks) is related to by nearly everyone based on her extraordinary beauty. Most who meet her assume that, because she is beautiful, she lives a beautiful life. It is an assumption that produces tragic results.
I loved the slow pace, a pace of discovery.
Well worth the time of a reader who loves to spend time with carefully crafted characters and paragrpahs that shimmer with thoughtful prose.
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