Frances was the dutiful wife of Martin. Madeleine was his not-so-dutiful mistress of 25 years. Now Martin has moved to America with a younger woman, so the two enemies meet face to face, to discuss their relationships with the elusive man whom they refuse to be defined by. Together they explore the past, realizing they must learn to feel the “breath of life” again.
Life being what it is, one dreams of revenge.” Gauguin’s epigram serves as the motto for this moral tale of two women, whose lives are interwoven in ways neither of them yet understands. Madeline Palmer is a retired curator, living alone on the Isle of Wight. One day Frances Beale comes to her door, a woman she has met only once, who is now enjoying sudden success, late in life, as a popular novelist. The result is a surprising and profound meditation on what can emerge when a man’s wife and lover finally confront each other.