What happens when your Prince Charming turns out not to be so charming after all In To Have and To Hold, bestselling author Jane Green offers a sizzling, highly entertaining look at romantic relationships after we say "I do."Alice knows she should be happy. A charming twenty-eight-year-old with a successful catering business, she's always dreamed of a rose-covered cottage in the English countryside, filled with children and animals and home-cooked meals. Her favorite attire is comfy jeans, her best manicure features garden dirt under the nails. But when her teenage crush-the wealthy, dashing man-about-town Joe Chambers-wants to make her his bride, Alice is more than willing to play Cinderella to Joe's prince. Never mind that he wants her to change-a diet, ice-blond highlights, stilettos, snooty gallery openings-and that he's allergic to nature and kids. She tells herself she's happy to sacrifice for love, and besides, with Joe's stunning good looks and high-profile career at a top financial firm, every woman in London wants to be in her shoes.
In bestselling British novelist Green's sixth novel, a less-than-perfect London marriage disintegrates stateside. Alice loves her husband, the dashing Joe Chambers, even though he works late and travels a lot-he can be so wonderful (when he's around) and she still can't believe he picked mousy little her. (Of course, he transformed her into a blonde-highlighted, Jimmy Choo-sporting sophisticate first.) Blind to Joe's incessant philandering-even after an office sex act gets him banished to New York-Alice accepts his guilt gifts and hopes for the best. She doesn't want to leave her London life, but she's always loved nature and the rustic life, so Joe buys, in addition to a Manhattan apartment, a house in fictional Highfield, Conn. As the prologue warns, it's not just any house; it belonged to (fictional) 1930s writer Rachel Danbury, whose novel The Winding Road blew the lid off the town with its saga of infidelities. "Does history repeat itself " Of course! Green tracks, in great detail, Joe's further infidelities, Alice's dissatisfactions, their fights and reconciliations; she also dips into the POVs of Josie Mitchell (Joe's lover) and Emily, Alice's best friend. Alice is mostly sympathetic, but for someone who thinks of herself as "a post-feminist child of a feminist," she sure bends over backward to please the snake she married. The one plot twist, involving Emily and her beau, Harry, is sweet but predictable. Green's style relies heavily on exposition, and while her prose is clean, her story is padded-kind of like one of those sexy bras that rat Joe likes. 6-city author tour. (May 18) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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March 01, 2005
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Excerpt from To Have and To Hold by Jane Green
Alice takes a deep breath as she opens the closet door and pulls out her dress. She lays it carefully on the bed, gathering her shoes, her veil, her stockings and garter, draping them gently next to the dress, amazed that in just a few hours' time she will be wearing all of this. In just a few hours' time she will be Joe's bride.
"Here comes the bride," she sings to herself, taking small, gliding steps down her hallway into the kitchen, smiling despite the butterflies, putting on the kettle to make herself another cup of coffee. She thinks she needs the coffee to stay awake, so badly did she sleep last night, but the adrenaline is already pumping, and she's waiting for Emily -- her maid of honor -- to arrive, someone with whom she can share the excitement.
Walking back into the bedroom, she stands for a while gazing at the dress. While not exactly what she would have chosen, she can't deny its beauty, how elegant it is, how impossibly stylish.
Alice had always thought she would have a country wedding. She dreamed, even as a little girl, of a small stone church; of walking through a white wooden gate in a soft, feminine puff of a dress, fresh flowers in her hair and a bouquet of hand-picked wild daisies in her hand. The groom had been unimportant: her fantasy had ended at the church door, but she knows the groom -- even in her fantasies -- would never have been as handsome, or as successful, as Joe.