A Great Marriage: A Novel (Hardcover)

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When a perfect wedding is called off just days before the big event, it sends two people—and their families—reeling, in this poignant novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Women in Sunlight

A great marriage is an elusive thing, and only a few know the secret to making one.

Dara Willcox, in New York for a weekend, meets Austin Clarke at an art gallery. If love at first sight can happen, it happens to them. These two vivid, ambitious people are on different courses—he’s British, working temporarily in New York. She’s from North Carolina, set on law school. They don’t care. They will make their lives together happen. At their April engagement dinner at Dara’s family home, her mother, Lee, sets a beautiful table, and the family and close friends gather to celebrate. Rich, Dara’s father, raises a toast. Suddenly, Lee spills the wine, a brilliant red stain splashing onto the tablecloth and onto Austin.

Days later, Austin hears unsettling news from London that wrecks their plans. Dara abruptly cancels the wedding. She refuses to reveal the reason, not even to her best friends or her parents or grandmother, disrupting their family tradition of openness. As everyone knows, Lee and Rich have a great marriage, and Charlotte, her grandmother, had a colossal one, to the late Senator Mann.  Charlotte literally wrote the book on the subject: She’s the author of international bestsellers on what makes a good or possibly a great marriage. 

While Dara escapes to California and Indigo Island, South Carolina, Austin, back in London, faces a major tragedy, the consequences of which are life-altering. But it’s Lee, Dara’s mother, whose impulsive visit to London alters their fate.

With her signature warmth, humor, and incisive style, beloved author Frances Mayes creates a multigenerational probe into the complexity of love and the great mystery ride of marriage. A novel of casual choices and fateful consequences, A Great Marriage introduces two unforgettable families and the arrival of a stranger who rearranges their futures.

About the Author

Frances Mayes is the author of the modern classic Under the Tuscan Sun, which was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years and inspired the beloved motion picture starring Diane Lane. It was followed by Bella Tuscany, Every Day in Tuscany, and two illustrated books, In Tuscany and Bringing Tuscany Home. She is also the author of A Year in the World, See You in the Piazza, Always Italy, and A Place in the World: Finding the Meaning of Home. Her novels include Swan and Women in Sunlight. Her books have been translated into more than fifty languages.

Praise For…

Praise for A Great Marriage

“A grand love story with plenty of surprises . . . The pleasure of this book is in its rare combination of eloquent writing, human insights, and page-turning storytelling.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Mayes’ talent for creating engaging, empathetic characters coping with the challenges of modern love is on full display in this supremely satisfying escapist love story.”Booklist​

Praise for Frances Mayes

“Beautiful, thought-provoking.”BookPage

“Vivid and heartfelt . . . [Mayes’s] writing is infused with this rare communal quality.”Bookreporter

“Mayes delivers a soulful meditation. . . . Spellbinding . . . This rich testament to the pleasures of wanderlust and permanence is a gift.”Publishers Weekly

“Tuscany may have found its own bard in Frances Mayes.”The New York Times

“Those who want to find parts of themselves they didn’t know existed, take risks, have an adventure . . . and discover another culture altogether, with its different rhythms, tastes, smells, and ways of being human—those readers will find in Mayes a kindly, eager, tough-spirited guide.”Houston Chronicle

“Mayes’s writing about Italy is the next best thing to a plane ticket.”People

“Frances Mayes is, before all else, a wonderful writer. . . . She never loses sight of the fact that millenniums-old Tuscany, with its immemorial customs and folkways, is not to be domesticated or made familiar. Her Italy remains intransigently foreign, exotic, a continuing revelation of strangeness and unexpected beauties.”Chicago Tribune

“Mayes displays a gift for conveying everyday life through her writing . . . perfect for those with the yen but not the means for a second home . . . [and] presents a simpler, less frantic version of how to live one’s life.”USA Today

“Mayes [has] perfect vision. . . . She has, by the sweat of her brow and the strength of her vision, become a layer in the history of this place.”Los Angeles Times
Product Details
ISBN: 9780593498989
ISBN-10: 0593498984
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: August 13th, 2024
Pages: 320
Language: English