One Sunday Morning
Despite its title, One Sunday Morning actually takes place over a period of several weeks in an unspecified year in the 1920s after four young New York society women spot another member of their circle leaving a hotel with another woman’s fiancé. From there the women’s lives spread out in different directions, leading to scandal, marriage, heartbreak, European travel, and disillusionment with the narrow options life offers to even the most privileged of them. This is one of those novels whose plot is difficult to define linearly, but which is driven mainly by the brief, eloquent beauty of the characters’ rotating narratives, the silences that say much more than words. Ephron is adept at creating three-dimensional characters who radiate quiet emotion ranging from joy to despair. At times the same scenes are narrated from the perspective of different characters, revealing their backstories and varied reactions to what they see, hear and remember (each in her own way). Though a quick read, the simplicity of the drama heightens its impact and stays with the reader long after other details fade.