Additional Information about Intimate Strangers
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Length: 352 pages
Height: 10.0 in.
Width: 6.5 in.
Thickness: 1.2 in.
Weight: 23.2 oz.
After two couples--one British, one American--trade houses for a summer, they begin to defy the limits of marital love to enter the hungry volatile seas of temptation. "Intimate Strangers" charts the tenacity of illusions, the surprising and liberating discoveries that emotional crises can generate, and the ways in which we sometimes invent love to meet our hearts' deepest needs.
Christy and Gabe McCarthy appear to be the perfect couple. They live in Oak Ridge, an antebellum North Carolina residence; maintain a beach home; dote upon their only child; and live the upscale life that is featured in Southern Living. Maggie and Oliver Callahan live in a 19th-century family manse in Wiltshire, England, have two children, and fight often due to Oliver's infidelities and Maggie's unfulfilled career aspirations. When the two families switch homes for summer vacations, their lives become entangled, and the fault lines in the two marriages widen. Christy falls for Oliver, Maggie has an intimate liaison with friend and neighbor Edward, and Gabe is stunned and aghast. In her debut American novel, Mead smartly explores the saga of modern relationships gone astray but provides a neat and tidy finish for those who love happy endings. For popular fiction collections. Mary Ellen Elsbernd, Northern Kentucky Univ. Lib., Highland Heights
The catalyst: an ad, impulsively placed with the Worldwide Home Exchange Club by British journalists Maggie and Oliver Callahan of Brockhampton House in Wiltshire. The next step: an impulsive reply from Christy and Gabe McCarthy of Oak Ridge, an almost plantation-sized house in rural North Carolina. The result: a seemingly innocent eight-week house swap that will end in the destruction of both marriages. The Callahans know something is amiss in their marriage Oliver is a compulsive liar with a habit of adultery, and Maggie loathes the fact that her chauvinistic husband has begun to consider her just a housewife. When, on the eve of their departure for America, Oliver disappears to London, Maggie retaliates by sleeping with their closest friend, antique auctioneer Edward Arabin. Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, attorney Gabe McCarthy adores his wife and young son but fears that Christy sometimes finds him boring. A justifiable suspicion, for Christy arrives in England in search of an emotion that will be "dangerous and awful." When she stumbles upon an unfinished novel, A Sad Affair, in Oliver's study, Christy is certain she's found the man who can fulfill the fantasy. Then, "a freak combination of a stray cat, a milk bottle, and a prank doorbell ringer" brings Oliver back to London and into Christy's waiting dreams. British-American writer Mead's bright and engaging novel of love, manners and temptation succeeds in being sensual without relying on gratuitous sex, and finishes with a surprising epilogue that promises a real shock for the obsessed Christy when the true authorship of A Sad Affair is revealed. Literary Guild alternate. (Oct.)