'A writer to watch. A superb novel, wonderful prose' - Sandra Scoppettone Elegant, intellectual Mercedes Medina is nearing 60 and preparing for the imminent death of her husband. Twenty years her senior, he is approaching the end of his life with lucidity and confidence but, for Mercedes, the journey is not so simple. Finding herself drawn to a woman nearly half her age, she stuggles for balance as passion collides with responsibility, recklessness with loyalty and lust with love. A haunting story of change, both unforgettable and recognisable.
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Set in Boston, Ann Wadsworth's first novel is about a women on the brink of her 60th birthday. Mercedes Medina is married to a famous cellist, Patrick, who is 25 years her senior and dying. When Mercedes meets Lennie, a young woman who works in the local flower shop, a long-forgotten memory of her honeymoon resurfaces. A woman gave her a gardenia, an action that created emotional confusion at the time, and a similar feeling is again triggered when she meets the captivating Lennie. Long habit leads her to confide in her husband, who recognizes that it is only reasonable for her to form another relationship, but wishes she could have waited until after he was dead. As his death approaches, he becomes more demanding, and this coincides with the height of her love affair with Lennie. There are many flashbacks in the book and past events are conjured up by a name, a flower or music. We learn that Mercedes has lived her life vicariously, and must now decide what she wants, and where to go from here. Lennie disappears, then Patrick dies. Torn between grief for Patrick and desire for Lennie, she desperately needs to get her life into some sort of balance. As she struggles to revise her assumptions about her sexuality she is genuinely bewildered by what has happened to her, yet accepts that it felt right. The strongly depicted characters exert a powerful effect on the reader's emotions, and Mercedes's vulnerability is at times very moving. This is a stylish, subtle and delicate novel that lingers long in the memory. (Kirkus UK)