Sudden Rain by Maritta Wolff

Now that "Sudden Rain" has come out of its hiding place -- in Wolff's refrigerator, found after her death -- it remains gloriously frozen in time. Set in the fall of 1972, the novel perfectly captures, with expansive emotion and cinematic detail, the domestic trends of three generations of middle-class couples living in suburban Los Angeles. A brilliant portrait of its burgeoning era, "Sudden Rain "also offers striking cultural commentary on our everyday notions of love and marriage; individuality, equality, and community; and the promise and pursuit of the American Dream."

The Kashmir Shawl by Rosie Thomas

About the book Within one exotic land lie the secrets of a lifetime… Newlywed Nerys Watkins leaves rural Wales for the first time to accompany her husband on a missionary posting to India. Deep in the exquisite heart of Kashmir lies the lakeside city of Srinagar, where the British live on carved wooden houseboats and dance, flirt and gossip as if there is no war. But the battles draw closer, and life in Srinagar becomes less frivolous when the men are sent away to fight. Nerys is caught up in a dangerous friendship, and by the time she is reunited with her husband, the innocent Welsh bride has become a different woman. Years later, when Mair Ellis clears out her father’s house, she finds an exquisite antique shawl, a lock of child’s hair wrapped within its folds. Tracing her grandparents’ roots back to Kashmir, Mair embarks on a quest that will change her life forever.

The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler

Michael and Pauline seemed like the perfect couple - young, good-looking, made for each other. The moment she walked into his mother's grocery store in Baltimore, he was smitten, and in the heat of World War II fervour, they marry in haste. From the sound of the cash register in the old grocery to the counter-culture jargon of the sixties, from the miniskirts to the multilayers of later years, we watch their lives unspool and see the consequences of their very mismatched marriage.

The Private Lives of Pippa Lee by Rebecca Miller

Pippa seems to have everything in life. But suddenly she finds her world beginning to unravel. Amid the buzzing lawnmowers and suburban coffee mornings, she starts to wonder how she came to be in this place. The answer is a story of wild youth, unexpected encounters, affairs and betrayals, and the dangerous security of marriage. It brilliantly reveals the challenges of modern life – and all the possibilities that it holds.

Leaving the World by Douglas Kennedy

On the night of her thirteenth birthday, Jane Howard made a vow to her warring parents - she would never get married and she would never have children. But life, as Jane discovers, is a profoundly random business. Many years and many lives later, she is a professor in Boston, in love with a brilliant, erratic man named Theo. And then she falls pregnant. Motherhood turns out to be a great welcome surprise - but when a devastating turn of events tears her existence apart she has no choice but to flee all she knows and leave the world. Just when Jane has renounced life itself, the disappearance of a young girl pulls her back from the edge and into an obsessive search for personal redemption. Convinced that she knows more about the case than the police do, she is forced to make a decision - stay hidden or bring to light a shattering truth. Like Kennedy's previous highly acclaimed novels, Leaving the World, speaks volumes about the dilemmas we face in trying to navigate our way through all that fate throws in our path.

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

An epic tale of contemporary love and marriage. This is the story of the Berglunds, their son Joey, their daughter Jessica and their friend Richard Katz. It is about how we use and abuse our freedom; about the beginning and ending of love; teenage lust; the unexpectedness of adult life; why we compete with our friends; how we betray those closest to us; and why things almost never work out as they ‘should’. It is a story about the human heart, and what it leads us to do to ourselves and each other.

Happenstance by Carol Shields

About the book A week spent apart for a long-time married couple brings new and frightening experiences for each. Bewildered in a new city, Brenda struggles to cope. Meanwhile, at home, Jack's world falls apart; but while dealing with the crises around him, he learns something about himself. Reviewed by Entre Nous Interesting and well… Continue reading Happenstance by Carol Shields