The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller

images-6I just finished reading The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller and I am not sure what I thought of it. The book alternated between two women, Meri and Delia. Meri is a thirty-something year old woman who moves next door to Delia, a seventy-year old sometimes wife to Tom Naughton, a US Senator. I say “sometimes” wife because we learn early on that Tom has a string of different love affairs and no longer lives with Delia. The two remain married however, and still get together from time to time and carry on their own version of a love affair. Meri finds herself drawn to Delia and Tom’s story and longs to understand why Delia forgives and still loves Tom.

Spoiler Alert: Okay, so I understand why Delia forgives Tom and keeps returning to him. I also understand why she takes him in after he has a stroke. I liked Delia, in fact I connected with her story much more than I did with Meri’s. Although, I don’t know why she walked away without looking back. Was that the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back? Does she finally realize that even “maimed” Tom is still Tom and never truly hers? Why don’t we hear anymore from her point of view?

What I didn’t understand was Meri and Nate’s relationship. I was never truly convinced of their love for one another and didn’t buy into the ending. They seemed so distant from one another. Meri kept so much of her life a secret. Why doesn’t Nate question what really happened with Tom? For so much of the second half of the novel we see Meri struggle with what I assume is post-partum depression and suddenly she has three kids and loves them all, no questions asked? Again, I didn’t buy into this.

I enjoyed this book right up until the last 25 pages and then I was left with too many questions. Has anyone else read this one who feels differently? I would love to hear your thoughts.

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4 thoughts on “The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller

  1. I think that Delia catching Tom and Meri during one of their erotic episodes was the last betrayal. It was the ultimate betrayal, really. Were any of Tom’s other dalliances friends with Delia? Not really. Not like Meri (even though I don’t know that Delia would call her a friend…maybe an acquaintance). Delia was caring for Tom, who is basically an invalid after his stroke, and he still found a way to cheat on her.

    I bought into Meri and Nate’s relationship. Men aren’t as curious for the dirty details as women are, so I wasn’t surprised that he didn’t press Meri on what happened with Tom. If he doesn’t think she’s ever lied to him, why question her now?

    I don’t know if you have kids (I don’t), but I’ve read that it’s fairly common for the nurturing feelings to kick in late with the first kid, and then when future kids come along, it’s not a problem at all.

    I really loved this book and found it to be a great character study.

  2. Pingback: Book Giveaway Carnival « State of Denmark

  3. Pingback: Review: The Senator’s Wife « Book Addiction

  4. I recently read this book and really enjoyed it. I agree with you though about the questions left unanswered and I was also expecting Meri and Nate’s relationship to be explored more. I would have been happy if the story had stayed with Meri and Delia – I had visions of Delia being a true role model and through her Meri resolving her issues etc.. I also found the jump at the end to Meri and Nate and their children etc a bit odd. I’m going to look for other books by Sue Miller though as I loved her writing style.

    Thank you for your review 0:)

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