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Domestic Pleasures

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After her ex-husband dies in a plane crash, Martha Gaver is horrified to learn that the executor of Raymond's estate is Charlie, the conservative, insufferable lawyer who represented Raymond in their bitter divorce. Yet soon after they reenter each other's lives, Martha, Charlie, and their teenage children find they have more in common than they imagined as they struggle t After her ex-husband dies in a plane crash, Martha Gaver is horrified to learn that the executor of Raymond's estate is Charlie, the conservative, insufferable lawyer who represented Raymond in their bitter divorce. Yet soon after they reenter each other's lives, Martha, Charlie, and their teenage children find they have more in common than they imagined as they struggle to rebuild their lives...and that opposites really do attract. Engaging,, witty, and entertaining, Domestic Pleasures is a touching, piercing tale of love lost, found, and embraced once again.


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After her ex-husband dies in a plane crash, Martha Gaver is horrified to learn that the executor of Raymond's estate is Charlie, the conservative, insufferable lawyer who represented Raymond in their bitter divorce. Yet soon after they reenter each other's lives, Martha, Charlie, and their teenage children find they have more in common than they imagined as they struggle t After her ex-husband dies in a plane crash, Martha Gaver is horrified to learn that the executor of Raymond's estate is Charlie, the conservative, insufferable lawyer who represented Raymond in their bitter divorce. Yet soon after they reenter each other's lives, Martha, Charlie, and their teenage children find they have more in common than they imagined as they struggle to rebuild their lives...and that opposites really do attract. Engaging,, witty, and entertaining, Domestic Pleasures is a touching, piercing tale of love lost, found, and embraced once again.

30 review for Domestic Pleasures

  1. 4 out of 5

    Laurel-Rain

    When Raymond Gaver's plane crashes enroute from LA to NY, Charlie Leveque, his attorney, is the one to tell Raymond's ex-wife Martha. Martha, who remembers hating Charlie for his role in turning her world upside down in the divorce from Raymond. And now she discovers that he is the executor of the estate and the one to whom she must address financial requests for her son Jack. Sorting through the detritus of a life abruptly ended brings these characters in close proximity with one another, and the When Raymond Gaver's plane crashes enroute from LA to NY, Charlie Leveque, his attorney, is the one to tell Raymond's ex-wife Martha. Martha, who remembers hating Charlie for his role in turning her world upside down in the divorce from Raymond. And now she discovers that he is the executor of the estate and the one to whom she must address financial requests for her son Jack. Sorting through the detritus of a life abruptly ended brings these characters in close proximity with one another, and then, almost by accident, Charlie and Martha become friends. She begins to understand that he is not to blame for how Raymond tore her life apart, and, in fact, he has gone through his own divorce and is left trying to figure out how to raise his teenage daughter Phoebe. They realize they have more in common than they thought. As their relationship begins to change and they become close, they discover that, as it turns out, their children are tight friends, who may be more than friends. Instead of making life easier, this complicates things. The journey of these characters in forging their new lives, separately, and later together, is beautifully wrought, set against the backdrop of Manhattan life with all of its complexities. Gutcheon has a unique talent for showing us what life looks like in Manhattan in the 1990s, and especially how to navigate life after divorce in these times. She is brilliant at dialogue, showing us the delightfully awkward movements of adults discovering new love, just as she also takes us right into the world of teenagers, with all their funky behaviors and appearances. We begin to see each of the characters; we hear what they hear and chuckle at their flaws, foibles, and missteps. Here is an excerpt that spotlights some of the issues for Martha and Charlie: "Martha looked doubtful. She was so tired she could hardly remember why it was she couldn't just fall into his arms and go to sleep. Why couldn't they just tell the children to behave themselves? Think of the pleasure of cooking breakfast together for all three children, of going to bed together two nights in a row, of going to the supermarket together and deciding together what to cook, of taking a walk together without having to arrange baby-sitters or take three subways to get to each other to do it. Think of sitting together in lamplight after dinner, reading and looking forward to going upstairs to bed together, instead of looking forward to going out in the rain, getting in a cab, and going sixty blocks to sleep alone." We meet other characters along the way, like Sophie, Charlie's ex-girlfriend, and her sister Connie, whose marriage is falling apart. These characters intersect with the others, almost randomly, but their appearances somehow shape and redefine the lives of our major players. But what obstacles will appear to seemingly derail their lives? How do the complexities of sharing their domestic lives somehow prevent or complicate those ordinary moments? And how, finally, will each of them sort it all out so that the domestic pleasures can be accessible to them? I loved "Domestic Pleasures : A Novel" and thoroughly enjoyed savoring the lives of such colorful and real characters that made me root for them, and long for their victories, even as they struggled. There were humorous and sad moments, just as there are in real life, in this memorable tale that I highly recommend for anyone who enjoys touching, piercing stories of love lost, found, and embraced once again. Five stars.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Andie

    This book has been in my "to read" box for a very long time, and what a pleasure to dive into a character driven novel where I can indulge in thoughts and motivations instead of a runaway plot. Martha Garver's ex-husband dies in a plane crash and she is horrified to learn that the executor of his estate, and the person who will be handling her son's trust fund is none other than Charlie Leveque, the conservative and insufferable attorney who represented her ex-husband Raymond in their bitter di This book has been in my "to read" box for a very long time, and what a pleasure to dive into a character driven novel where I can indulge in thoughts and motivations instead of a runaway plot. Martha Garver's ex-husband dies in a plane crash and she is horrified to learn that the executor of his estate, and the person who will be handling her son's trust fund is none other than Charlie Leveque, the conservative and insufferable attorney who represented her ex-husband Raymond in their bitter divorce. However, after meeting regarding the business of the will, Martha and Charlie both discover that they have more in common than they ever could have imagined: Martha's husband may be dead, but Charlie has his own insufferable ex-wife to deal with; both have teenage children with all their myriad problems; and both find themselves, remarkably enjoying the same things. Sooner rather than later, Martha and Charlie find themselves attracted to each other. However, as in all novels of manners, the course of love cannot run too smoothly How they work out the rocky bumps in their relationship and come to a satisfactory conclusion makes for a most enjoyable read.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Susanne

    I don't know if I've read her books before - probably - but I enjoyed this book thoroughly. She seems to excel at describing the foibles we all exhibit in relationships.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Michele Mason

    While the story was predictable, this was a wonderful book to read. I enjoyed every page. One of Beth Gutcheon's better books.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    3.5 stars. Incredibly well written characters. They were so real. It was a total soap opera, no real redeeming message, but I kept turning those pages.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Janet Valentine

    One of my all-time favorite books! And it's not really about domesticity, or housekeeping.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Mookie

    Like Martha, I could barely tolerate the notion of her ex-husbands divorce lawyer who well and truly f-ed up her life, hitting on her. Like Martha, he won me over. This was an interesting book to read in that I could potentially call this serious chic-lit. The prose was by no means heavy-handed, but light, yet with substance. If I were to become a writer, this 'light-with-substance' I think is what I would strive for. This is the very first time in a book with multiple character lives that I act Like Martha, I could barely tolerate the notion of her ex-husbands divorce lawyer who well and truly f-ed up her life, hitting on her. Like Martha, he won me over. This was an interesting book to read in that I could potentially call this serious chic-lit. The prose was by no means heavy-handed, but light, yet with substance. If I were to become a writer, this 'light-with-substance' I think is what I would strive for. This is the very first time in a book with multiple character lives that I actually became invested in. The drama with Sophie's sister, Sophie herself, all had me captivated. I didn't really care about the teenagers, but I did enjoy the merging of lives, of families. This is a story about people constructing families. * I really felt bad for Phoebe, and personally I hope she rebels some more. She's earned it. All their teenage drama was fairly boring, but I enjoyed the contrasts of neighbourhood schools. * Their upperclass lives in New York was pretty alienating as a reader. It definitely did not draw me in. At one point Charlie is helping Martha's son try on some of his fathers clothes, and sees his tag and things "The Gap? Doesn't this kid own any real clothes?" I'm sorry, but isn't The Gap like the definition of elitism? Maybe it was like the WalMart equivalent in 1991, but now it's definitely the rich kids store. Then again, I exist outside the wealthy NYC bubble. I spent much of the time throughout this book wondering about their respective rents. * What was really awesome about this book was that Gutcheon included cheesy moments but made them believable. She saw a love story, and instead of writing about it observantly like Alice Munroe or grossly mushy like Danielle Steele, she's like, how can I write a cute scene without wanting to throw up. The whole snowstorm scene at the ski chalet, forced to share a bed trope, well, Gutcheon made it actually believable. Charlie's bursts of romantic intentions were both adorable and convincing. Would I reread? Possibly. I think when I'm an older woman with a family (maybe), I would find interest in more aspects to this book than simply the romance. For now it's going into my donate pile, but with good wishes.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Paula Hess

    3.5 good family dysfunction story

  9. 5 out of 5

    Elysabeth

    Quaint and dated at this point but I do like the way that Gutcheon writes her characters.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Susann

    Persephone Books turned me on to Gutcheon with its re-issue of Still Missing, so when Jen recommended this title, I kept an eye out for a copy at Powell's. Gutcheon has a real talent for focusing on the domestic while also evoking a strong sense of time and place. This time and place is New York City in the mid-to-late 1980s, which means - OF COURSE - that our heroine has to have a SoHo loft. (I'm not complaining about Martha's loft, which is a realistic match for her character; I'm just envious Persephone Books turned me on to Gutcheon with its re-issue of Still Missing, so when Jen recommended this title, I kept an eye out for a copy at Powell's. Gutcheon has a real talent for focusing on the domestic while also evoking a strong sense of time and place. This time and place is New York City in the mid-to-late 1980s, which means - OF COURSE - that our heroine has to have a SoHo loft. (I'm not complaining about Martha's loft, which is a realistic match for her character; I'm just envious of all those great 1980s real estate deals.) Although some of the plot elements were a little too coincidental and even a little far-fetched (the Washington Square Park scene, for instance), the characters fully inhabited my space and the book was quietly unputdownable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kate

    This is pretty much exactly what one asks for in a not-too-serious contemporary novel. The likeable characters are very genuine and the less-likeable characters are interesting to observe. I was quite eager to see how all their stories played out. (AND I have no finicky complaints about the prose, either. A rarity!) I had continuing problems differentiating Phoebe and Sophie-- something about those names!-- but that probably speaks more to the speed at which I was reading because I really really This is pretty much exactly what one asks for in a not-too-serious contemporary novel. The likeable characters are very genuine and the less-likeable characters are interesting to observe. I was quite eager to see how all their stories played out. (AND I have no finicky complaints about the prose, either. A rarity!) I had continuing problems differentiating Phoebe and Sophie-- something about those names!-- but that probably speaks more to the speed at which I was reading because I really really wanted to see What Happens Next.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    (Really 3 1/2 stars) I loved Gutcheon's Leeway Cottage this year so I picked up this older novel of hers from 1991. It's interesting to see her growth as a writer. I'd compare this to a Rosamunde Pilcher or Maeve Binchy, except set in the US. This novel is a NYC family saga where several different story lines intersect with common characters. It also offers a nice look at (and reflection on) parenting older teens. An enjoyable read.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Agosta

    I know this book was published some time ago, but it's new to me and if you can't find it in print, go to your public library! The characters and situations are so real, so engaging. I like that they are people who fight their own shortcomings, that they're flawed and imperfect and that their lives are full and messy and complicated. Things turn on small events like the flu or bad weather, just like in real life. I really enjoyed this and am now going to read Ms. Gutcheon's other books.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    Anyone in a relationship, trying to understand his or her relationship or undertaking a new one ought to read this one. Unfortunately, many critiques have focused only on the "love story" aspect of this book instead of the intrapersonal relationships the author highlights. Fast, easy, great read. I would recommend it!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Claire Litton

    Eminently readable and conversational. It feels like a conversaion with your best friend, although some of the references are dated now (tights and big sweatshirts? poofy hair?). Satisfying, meandering, hadr to put down.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    I had a difficult time getting through this book. I read her Leeward Cottage & was inspired to read any other books she wrote, but this story was confusing at best. However, her characters are wonderful & you care about them. I had a difficult time getting through this book. I read her Leeward Cottage & was inspired to read any other books she wrote, but this story was confusing at best. However, her characters are wonderful & you care about them.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Amy Lamy

    One of my all time favorites - an emotional roller coaster type of story that you don't want to put down.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    Meh ...

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mich

    several interwoven story lines, interesting to read-esp if you have teenagers!!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sylvie

    This little gem is the kind of book where you think about the characters even when you are not reading it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Karen Backe

    Well-written and insightful story about relationships, romantic and familial, blooming and disintegrating. People are funny. Sweet and frustrating, just like relationships.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marvin

    A slight but enjoyable book with some sensitivity to the domestic lives of divorced men & women & teenaged children in NYC. The characters were truly likable ones that I came to care about. A slight but enjoyable book with some sensitivity to the domestic lives of divorced men & women & teenaged children in NYC. The characters were truly likable ones that I came to care about.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Domestic Pleasures : A Novel by Beth Gutcheon (2001)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jill

    I hadn't read any books by Gutcheon in a number of years. Her books remind me of Anne Tyler's books - very character driven.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    Fun story about three families who lives intersect.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bea

    Reading this book is like tuning in to a daily soap opera, but better. Good summer reading.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Toni Olivieri-barton

    The intertwined lives we lead and true love. DIvorce, dath and true love. Fast read, many characters.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne

    a goodread with a happy ending. nice and light

  29. 4 out of 5

    Irma Myers-Donihoo

    One of my Top Ten - love love love this book and re-read it at least once a year!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Huettl

    A page turner till the very end. I connected so with the great love that Martha and Charlie shared. Loved this book!

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