Lottie Gardner, her brother, Cameron, and their childhood friend Elizabeth have all come together in their hometown of Cambridge, Massachusetts, after years of separation. Lottie is barraged with memories of the past as she packs up her mother's house and witnesses the rekindling of an old romance between Cameron and Elizabeth. When a senseless tragedy intrudes upon them, Lottie is forced to examine the consequences of what she has done for love.
Sue Miller is the bestselling author of While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, For Love, Family Pictures, Inventing the Abbotts, and The Good Mother. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Jonathan Sweetwater has been blessed with money, a fulfilling career, great kids and Claire, his smart, gorgeous, sophisticated wife. But there is one thing Jonathan never had: a relationship with his father.
Percival Sweetwater III has been absent from his son’s life since Jonathan was nine years old. A five-term U.S. senator, now dead, Percy was beloved by presidents, his constituents, and women alike, especially the five women who married him after Jonathan’s mother.
Jonathan hasn’t thought about Percy or the hole he left in his life for years. Dedicated to Claire and his family, he’s nothing like his serial monogamist father. But then Jonathan discovers evidence that everything in his marriage may not be as perfect as he thought. Hurt and uncertain what to do, he knows that the only way to move forward is to go back.
On this quest for understanding—about himself, about manhood, about marriage—Jonathan decides to track down his father’s five ex-wives. His journey will take him from cosmopolitan cities to the mile-high mountains to a tropical island—and ultimately back to confront the one thing Jonathan has that his father never did: home.
The title story is about a young man who takes up successively with three daughters of the most fashionable family in town. In other stories, whose characters range from a young girl in the first blush of sexual curiosity to a stricken dowager whose seizures release a brutal and sometimes obscene candor, Sue Miller presents a compelling gallery of contemporary men and women with hungry hearts and dismayed consciences.
Lily Maynard is proud, chilly, difficult, and has become a famous writer at age seventy-two. Now, stricken with Parkinson's disease and staying with her architect son Alan, Lily must cope with her fading powers as well as with disturbing memories of the events that estranged her from her children and ended her marriage. For Alan, her visit raises old questions about his relationship with her, about the choices he has made in his own life, and about the nature of love, disappointment, and grief. Profound and moving, The Distinguished Guest reveals a family trying to understand the meaning of its life together, while confronting inevitable loss and the vision of an immeasurably altered future.
The whole world could not have broken the spirit and strength of the Eberhardt family of 1948. Lainey is a wonderful if slightly eccentric mother. David is a good father, sometimes sarcastic, always cool-tempered. Two wonderful children round out the perfect picture. Then the next child arrives -- and life is never the same again. Over the next forty years, the Eberhardt family struggles to survive a flood tide of upheaval and heartbreak, love and betrayal, passion and pain...hoping they can someday heal their hearts.