The story centers on Frances and Dennis's marriage; it is a touching, decades-long tribute to the beauty of lasting love. The story begins when they meet, and ends at Dennis's death. During that entire time, Daniel shows marriage as a fulfilling, satisfying, strengthening force in their lives. This portrayal is more realistic than many of the passion-filled romantic approaches of other novels, and shows marriage in a more truer, warts-and-all light. Despite the couple's happiness, Daniel shows how temptation can play a role, even in the best marriages. Frances's consideration of the affair with Jack, for instance, is not because she does not love Dennis, or that she is unhappy or unfulfilled, but rather because she is simply attracted to him, enjoys his company, and is in his presence often. Daniel creates in Frances a strong character, one who resists those temptations and is the better for it. Through Margo and Stuart's marriage, Daniel presents the thesis that marriage is a bumpy road that requires a lot of work. The book is a tribute to the profound journey that a long marriage takes, and celebrates its beauty.

Miami and Florida History

A native of Florida herself, Daniel incorporates her knowledge of major events in Miami and Florida history. Using the DuVal family as a vehicle, she highlights major hurricanes, murders, riots and other social and political events that occur in Florida over several decades. She discusses not only the events themselves, but the personal impact that those events have on families. History is not a distant, alien object that we only read of in textbooks; rather, it is a living, breathing element that leaves permanent marks on everyone's lives. Daniel's first-hand knowledge and experience with these events enables her to recount them with accuracy, detail, and personal nuances that make them seem alive and terrifying again.

The Impact of...

(The entire section is 762 words.)