Reservations for six A novel

Lindsey J. Palmer

Book - 2022

For the past decade, a favorite New England restaurant has been the scene for three couples to gather and celebrate birthdays, but after one celebrant's bombshell announcement, the couples find themselves examining their marriages and friendships in a whole new light.

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FICTION/Palmer, Lindsey J.
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Domestic fiction
Deadwood, Oregon : Wyatt-MacKenzie Publishing [2022]
Main Author
Lindsey J. Palmer (author)
Physical Description
292 pages ; 22 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

The witty if overheated latest from Palmer (Otherwise Engaged) follows three couples in western Massachusetts over the course of a year in which their marriages are tested. The six people are connected in a dizzying number of ways, which Palmer touches on in short chapters, and they are brought together for the birthday dinners they've been celebrating for years at an Italian restaurant. A cascade of events is set into motion when Nathan, an adjunct math professor who just turned 40, announces that he is leaving his wife for a student. As that scenario plays out, another couple deals with infertility, while the third decides to try out an open marriage arrangement. Palmer divides her attention among the six protagonists as well as Nathan's new young lover, and in doing so reveals the challenges of marriage as well as the rewards. While the mounting crises pile up a bit high, particularly in the novel's fraught home stretch, Palmer has a sure hand with her characters. Overall, this offers a shrewd but affectionate portrayal of marriage in middle age. Agent: Joëlle Delbourgo, Joëlle Delbourgo Assoc. (May)

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Review by Library Journal Review

In Palmer's (Otherwise Engaged) new tale of friendship and marriage, three couples gather six times a year, for each of their birthdays. For 10 years, they have met at the same restaurant, Giorgio's; ordered the same Italian spread; and taken comfort in their tradition. Then, at Nathan's 40th, he announces he wants a divorce from his wife, Louisa. Nathan moves in with his 21-year-old math student, and entropy seems to hit the rest of the sextet. Louisa, a vice principal, tries to hold her professional world together while parenting her young twins. As Mickey and Mateo are about to become empty nesters, they explore opening their marriage to others. Abe and Amy, after years of not being able to conceive, finally decide to adopt, until Amy's uncertainty threatens to dissolve their seemingly perfect partnership. VERDICT Pull up a chair and watch the drama unfold as these six friends manage the roller coaster of midlife. Marriage, fidelity, parenting, career stress, aging--no topic is off limits. In the spirit of Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin, Palmer keeps readers entertained and unwilling to leave the table.--Beth Gibbs

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

A divorce ripples through a close-knit group of friends in Palmer's latest novel. Three couples in fictional River Mill, Massachusetts--Mickey and Mateo, Abe and Amy, and Louisa and Nathan--have a 10-year tradition of gathering for each person's birthday at an Italian restaurant.At this year's dinner,on Nathan's 40th birthday, he tells Louisa that he wants a divorce, which blindsides her. It turns out that Nathan, a college professor, is having an affair with one of his students. As his and Louisa's marriage falls apart, their friends begin to reevaluate their own relationships. Amy and her husband, Abe, are having fertility issues, and although he can't wait to be a father, she isn't sure that she wants kids at all. She struggles with guilt as she loves Abe but doesn't feel that she can give him everything he wants. Mickey and Mateo's relationship is having trouble because they have mismatched libidos; Mickey pitches the idea of attempting an open marriage, which seems to work, at first, but gets complicated when their teenage daughter finds out about the arrangement. The opening sections of the novel are a bit confusing, as Palmer presents all six characters and their issues at once, from various points of view. Most of the book, however, focuses on the fallout from Nathan and Louisa's split and how it not only affects their friends, but also their careers. Nathan acts in an appalling way, tying himself in knots to justify his affair; it makes it difficult to sympathize with him, and it's unclear here the story's sympathies lie. Louisa, meanwhile, faces condescension, not only from Nathan but also from her boss. But although some of the major and minor characters are distinctly unlikable, the complex story does feel true to life. Not all of the relationships survive, but their resolutions all feel authentic to the characters. A realistic, if sometimes-frustrating, portrayal of couples facing emotional crises. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.