To Have and To Hold Summary (Jane Green)

Jane Green


British native Jane Green returns with To Have and To Hold (2004), her sixth novel.

Milquetoast Alice Chambers is happily wed to Joe, a handsome workaholic. Even after being married for several years, Alice still cannot believe that Joe chose her, an incredibly ordinary and average looking woman. But what Alice does not realize is that part of Joe's reason for choosing her was that he derived pleasure from feeling as though he could control her and mold her into the woman he wanted her to be. As the need to attend posh parties grew, Joe encouraged Alice to get a makeover and lose weight, both of which she did. Even if she did not feel the part of a high-society wife, at least she looked it.

Alice chooses to ignore his extramarital affairs and is always more than delighted to receive the gifts he gives her to make up for the guilt he feels about cheating. When Joe gets caught in the act by a colleague, he is sent to New York by his employers. However, Alice is reluctant to leave the life in London she so loves. To appease her, Joe buys not only an apartment in the city but also a home in the suburbs of Connecticut where Alice can garden and enjoy the peace and quiet of country life that she has always dreamed of.

Once she is ensconced in suburban life, Alice finds herself in a bit of a quandary; she has fallen for her best friend's boyfriend. Alice finds herself with a dilemma: should she remain in a loveless marriage or pursue a more satisfying relationship? Alice grapples with the fact that she knows she is in an enviable position; she has a handsome husband, a lovely home, and great wealth. But in spite of all that she has, she cannot seem to get past what she does not have: the love of her husband. Alice must make a difficult decision regarding her future.

Author Jane Green resides with her family in Connecticut. She has written several other novels, including Bookends, Jemima J, Straight Talking and Babyville. To Have and To Hold is titled Spellbound in Green's native U.K.