(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

“A Married Woman,” the first novella in Marriage: A Duet, examines the distressing consequences of adultery from the perspective of Caroline Betts. As she sits at the bedside of her comatose husband William, she reminisces over many of the past events of their forty-year marriage. She is still consumed with anger and frustration over her husband’s affair with their daughter’s friend April that occurred some fifteen years earlier. Her thoughts bounce back and forth between past and present events, as she experiences feelings of sorrow, anger, rage, joy, and optimism for a brighter future.

“A Married Man,” the second novella, views infidelity through the eyes of an investment banker, David Sanderson. He cannot come to grips with the fact that his wife Marcia had a brief fling with one of his business associates. Trying to regain a state of normalcy, David undergoes psychotherapy with his wife and tries a variety of medications, all to no avail. David and Marcia remain distant and lonely. David finally decides that the only solution for his distraught, bitter feelings and depression must come from within himself.

Although some readers will shun the gratuitous sex and offensive language found in both novellas, the book provides insights into marital issues that may help readers establish or maintain happier marriages. Good times, bad times, rays of hope, facets of love in a marriage are all vividly portrayed by author Anne Taylor Fleming in both novellas. Fleming develops characters who have depth and in doing so clearly portrays the pain, anguish, truth, and compassion that can accompany marital infidelity.