Marriage: a Duet is comprised of two separate stories that examine infidelity in the union of husband and wife.
"A Married Woman" begins in the hospital room of William Betts. His wife Caroline has spent the last three weeks at his bedside, awaiting his eminent death. All of this solitary time forces Caroline to look back on her forty-year marriage to William. Fifteen years ago, he had an affair with their daughters college friend.
This story alternates between the present and the past. Somehow the marriage endured through Caroline's feelings of hurt, anger and resentment.
"A Married Man" explores the union of David and Marcia Sanderson. David is an investment banker whose ideal family life is shattered by his wife's admission of a brief fling with a client. David tries couple's therapy and medications though nothing can mend his heart.
Anne Taylor Fleming's work delves into the depths of two marriages, cracking the facades to expose the raw emotion that comes with lifetime commitment.
Obviously, the cheating spouses is each story are flawed. However, Caroline in the first story and David in the second have their own issues as well. Fleming draws a complex cast who are bound to draw a variety of emotions from readers.
Each story is approximately ninety pages in Marriage: a Duet. Both plots are perfectly paced making for quick completion. Fleming's book is recommended reading and I suggest it for book club discussions as well.