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.