The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine

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The Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine

Schine, Cathleen. The Three Weissmanns of Westport.  Sarah Crichton Books, 2010. ISBN 978-0374299040 pp. $25

When septuagenarian Joseph falls for his company’s VP and asks his wife of 48 years for a divorce, she and her two grown daughters (a librarian and publisher with problems of their own) move to a seasonal rental in Westport while the fate of the 3-million dollar Upper West Side apartment–and that of the marriage–is determined. Mom Betsy copes with alcohol and the pretense that her estranged husband is deceased, librarian Annie falls for an older gentleman who is an accomplished author, and after a scandal that rocks the publishing world (her memorist authors are making up their tell all biographies) Miranda lands back on her feet by being swept off them: she is rescued from a kayaking accident and then seduced by a divorced father and aspiring actor.

Schine shines at balancing the comedy and pathos of family drama. Protagonists grow and each has an gently unexpected conclusion to their problem. Supporting characters sometimes devolve into caricatures such as “the eccentric uncle” and “the other woman.” The writing is fairly literary and engaging, but I didn’t develop a lot of sympathy for the characters. Loosely based on Sense and Sensibility, this may have appeal for fans of Jane Austen.

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