Published 1982 by Macmillan Co.
A Literary Guild Alternate selection
Martha Clement, wife, mother, and interior designer par excellence, is smart, charming, attractive, imaginative, ambitious, funny and feisty, caring and combative, stylish and stubborn. On the theory that (1) things of beauty are joys forever, (2) God created beauty and joy, and (3) therefore she is performing holy work, Martha dauntlessly fights a one-woman crusade to bring taste and grace to the interior of American homes and offices. Her weapons are barbs and bon mots, tact, wit, and an honesty that spares no one, least of all herself.
In Cheever country, upper middle-class Connecticut, she is well on her way to becoming the foremost decorator if she can only juggle her housekeeping, child-rearing, and husband-tending. It’s not easy, particularly when the clients want to slap paint on priceless old woodwork, the children are reaching the perilous age of consent, and amid community crises her spouse seems intent of keeping her “the little woman.” And it doesn’t get any easier when Martha finds herself drawn to the sensitive, high-powered, sexy executive who is the husband of one of her clients – an attraction that proves mutual.
By turns antic and frantic, divided by the demands of loyalty, lucre, and love, Martha forges on, whether in bucolic Connecticut, at work in the manicured luxury of Palm Beach palaces or at play in picturesque Nantucket. Ultimately she makes vital discoveries about the unexpected capacity (and limitations) of her body, her brain, and her heart.
©2017 Richard Kluger