The Stuff That Never Happened

The Stuff That Never Happened - Maddie Dawson Annabelle and Grant McKay have been happily married for thirty years. She is a successful children’s book illustrator and he is a professor of history trying to write his first book. Their son if off at university and their daughter is married and expecting their first grandchild so it seems like the kind of life that everyone would envy. Oh – of course that were that little glitch at the very beginning of their marriage when they were living in New York, Grant was establishing his career and Annabelle had an affair with Grant’s mentor … but they had agreed at the time to never speak of THAT again. When their daughter begins to have some problems with her pregnancy while her husband is away filming a documentary Annabelle decides it is best if she goes to New York to look after their daughter and, lo and behold, doesn’t she accidentally run into her lover of 30 years before.

This book is a study of a stable marriage suffering from a slight case of boredom, empty-nest syndrome, unspoken of and unresolved issues and a touch of nostalgia. Ms. Dawson does a good job of flipping the characters back and forth from the present to the 1970’s. The comparison of the attitudes, social norms and female equality between the two decades are all represented in the background to the decision that could tear apart the McKay family or help them heal from a wound they didn’t even realize was still open.

Told with equal parts humor, sadness and poignancy when I finished this book I felt sorry that I had let it languish in my TBR pile for almost two years.