What defines a marriage?
What are the ties that bind?
It cannot only be a question of love…
If not love, then what keeps a marriage or relationship together? Is it a matter of knowledge, of kindness, or simply the familiarity of a long road traveled together? If Not Love is a candid exploration of the lives of six women who, unknowingly, are all connected to one another.
In this moving debut novel, each one must confront and accept an uncomfortable reality, and recognize what their relationships teach them about themselves. The truths of their marriages are far from an idealization of love; instead they carry with them an understanding of what it is to be a wife, a mother, a lover.
For Sarah, it is not just love, but rather a brave commitment to the ties that bind—the oath she swore to and honors even in the face of temptation and desire. Kate, Sarah’s best friend, understands that she would rather be alone than not loved, whereas Isobel, Kate’s mother, reflects, in her widowhood, on the infidelity she accepted and possibly even encouraged. Martha, now in a retirement home, cherishes her affair with Isobel's husband as the defining moment of her life. Martha’s nurse, Sheila, is in an unconventional marriage—but one that is shown to be enduring and with its own integrity. And finally there is Judith, who is the most tormented of all, and who must confront old demons before she can face life boldly.
In a rich, evocative narrative, Kay Langdale interweaves the complexities of love and marriage with a rare maturity and vision. If Not Love is subtle and moving, and dark and painful at times. But it is ultimately a celebration of the journey each woman makes, both within her heart and within her marriage. It shows how individuals can make small, bold actions that transform their emotional history.
A well-crafted story of individual and mutual empowerment, If Not Love displays a breadth of understanding of female honesty in an engrossing and perceptive debut novel.
International Praise for the Unusually Powerful Debut Novel by Kay Langdale, Nominated for the 2007 Romantic Novel of the Year Award (UK):
“Affecting first novel...celebrates, frankly and subtly, the checks and balances of marital life.”—The Sunday Times
“Langdale’s approach in crafting is refreshingly, compellingly alternative…an elegant, adept use of language and a singularly insightful evocation of the mature female psyche.” —her circle ezine
“Langdale’s accomplished debut takes some unfashionable themes—marriage, mother- hood, loyalty, and duty—and considers them in a fresh light, through the medium of six female characters.…The sensitivity with which the author describes her characters’ innermost thoughts is one of the things that makes this book worth reading.”—The Times (London)
"A powerful and positive meditation on marriage that resonates long after you have finished the book"---The Oxford Times