Other than seeing that, I knew nothing about The Necessary Marriage, and its author, Elisa Lodato. What a pleasant surprise. It opened as beautifully as the Easter Lilies on its cover, to reveal a depth of emotions, honesty and love that kept me reading, smiling and enjoying it so much.
Jane meets Leonard when she is sixteen and he is her teacher. He is gentle and kind, she's a keen learner, and they fall in love. It's only when they're settled with children that she wonders if settling was such a good idea for her. But Marion and Andrew live next door, with their two boys, their passion - all its heat and fire spilling over into the neat picture of domesticity that Jane is almost holding together.
I don't want to tell you any more, but the story moves its focus around the two families - dealing with happy moments, and deep pain, times of connection and of loss. The writing is nicely done - it flows with the story.
And yet there was something missing. Towards the end, at the time when I'm usually completely immersed, invested and have no doubts whatsoever, I found the pace slowed, and my connection with the characters waned. Maybe it was me.
Worth the read, nevertheless, it will draw you in and keep you entertained.