Do women crave sex as much as men? That is the question at the centre of ADVENTURES IN MODERN MARRIAGE. Three middle-aged couples, based in Sussex and Notting Hill, dance around each other in a week when the 2015 General Election takes place. Not that this is a bed-hopping bonkbuster, no this is a considered look at love, ego and power.
Death also gets a look-in, as the cantankerous elderly mother of one of the characters hovers close to death. Will she die? Is it wrong to want her to die? In the meantime her daughter, a journalist, gets a commission to write an article about women and sex. She stumbles across a book that proposes that women are just as capable of irrational lust as men and indeed of acting on it. What happens when they do and the double standards by which men and women are judged for infidelity provides one of the central themes.
Power and the loss of it is also larded through the story. In the wide world we see Messieurs Cameron, Clegg and Milliband teetering on the brink of loss or glory, meanwhile our heroes grapple with the loss of job and potency. Everything is beautifully observed, some of it is “laugh out loud” funny. There were times when I want to shout at the characters to tell them not to be so stupid.
William Nicholson is an accomplished screenwriter (think Shadowlands), the way that he paints the scene is deft. You always know what people look like, how a room is furnished and which way the car turns. ADVENTURES IN MODERN MARRIAGE is the seventh book that he has written about these characters. This is the first that I have read and at no point did I feel that I was late to the party and should have started at the beginning of the sequence. I am, however, now keen to read the others.
DISCLAIMER: I was given a preview copy of ADVENTURES IN MODERN MARRIAGE via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
ADVENTURES IN MODERN MARRIAGE by William Nicholson
Published by Quercus
Hardback £19.99, Kindle £9.99