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This book tells the story of the Rubin family, a well respected Jewish family headed up by the matriarch, Claudia Rubin, Rabbi, author and minor celebrity.

Outwardly, life appears to be terrific for the Rubins, but on the wedding day of Leo, the eldest son, Leo bolts, and runs away with another Rabbi’s wife.  This event is the catalyst for the disintegration of the entire family.

Norman, Claudia’s patient husband has secrets of his own, which he is desperate to ensure she will not discover, even though he knows that one day, she inevitably will. Frances, the eldest daughter has her own anguishes and worries, and ponders how she can find her way to happiness.  The youngest two children, Simeon and Emily, are both completely selfish and entirely dependent on their mother, although in her eyes, they can do no wrong.

This is a well written story of a family in crisis; the characters are entirely believable, and the situations which occur are very easy to visualise.  Claudia Rubin herself actually struck me as an extremely dislikeable character – selfish, and happy to deny her elder children and husband their happiness for the sake of appearances.  Simeon and Emily are very irritating, and I found myself hoping for their come-uppance.  It is interesting however that they are the only two members of the family whose point of view we never see.

Based on this book, I would definitely want to read more by this author.

(Author’s website can be found here.)

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