The Story of a Marriage
This is a book that prides itself on its plot surprises, and begs readers not to give them away. So, to provide the bare bones, the protagonist, Pearlie, is a young woman who considers herself lucky to have married her childhood sweetheart, now back from the war. She settles down to housekeeping and raising a young son in the Sunset District of San Francisco, in 1953. One morning a man appears, an old army friend of her husband, Holland. Or is he? He claims he and Pearlie can help each other. As their strange relationship develops, she begins to question the very foundation of her marriage. She discovers she scarcely knows her husband at all.
The carefully crafted language of this book makes it a pleasure to read. The period details are a treasure. The author does a good job of leading the reader to certain expectations so that plot twists do surprise. My only complaint was that the husband, so central to the book, fell flat as a character. Movie-star handsome he might have been, but I had no sense of any personality, except maybe a faint glimmer toward the end. For me, the greatest mystery throughout most of the book was why the fascinating Pearlie felt such a deep love for so shallow a character.