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The Senator's Wife

3.27  ·  Rating details ·  10,283 ratings  ·  1,451 reviews

Once again Sue Miller takes us deep into the private lives of women with this mesmerizing portrait of two marriages exposed in all their shame and imperfection, and in their obdurate, unyielding love. The author of the iconic The Good Mother and the best-selling While I Was Gone brings her marvelous gifts to a powerful story of two unconventional women who unexpectedly cha

Hardcover, 306 pages
Published January 8th 2008 by Knopf (first published 2008)
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3.27  · 
Rating details
 ·  10,283 ratings  ·  1,451 reviews

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Jan 24, 2008 rated it it was ok
The first word that comes to mind is 'uncomfortable.' This might have to do with reading it on the absolute most hellish plane ride ever, but it also had to do with the general content. This book was one of those - wow it would be so good if she would just x,y,z and the rest of the alphabet ...
The plot was set up well enough - couple moves next to aging woman who has been 'the senators wife' for ages, in that she has watched her senator husband cheat on her repeatedly and stuggled with standing
Jan 22, 2008 rated it really liked it
Life Doesn't Change in its Fundamentals"

I've read enough work by Sue Miller to say with complete confidence that she's a brilliant writer, and a master at character development. The Senator's Wife is a gray tale of two couples, neighbors sharing an east coast duplex in an upscale neighborhood. In the story, Miller brings in the focus so tightly, that it feels a little voyeuristic prying into the everyday thoughts, feelings and actions of these characters. Said characters are ordinary, but at the
Jan 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Sue Miller honestly drives me crazy. I love her writing, it's very personal and raw. This is the third book I have read of hers, and while the books have all kept my interests, their endings either leave me unfullfilled, or freak me out. The Senator's Wife falls into the latter category. I didn't really know what to think of this book. What was it trying to say? You have poor dedicated Delia, stuck in this love trap with her philandering husband. You have Meri-who I just couldn't figure out. Who ...more
Alex Templeton
Jan 26, 2008 rated it liked it
Oh, literary women's fiction. So much of you feels so much the same. You drip with relationship drama and way overly descriptive language. The way someone peels an orange and then sits on a chair and feels the wood beneath her and smells the air and etc etc etc does not tell me much about her character. But I tend to devour you anyway, you literary comfort food, you. You are a cup of tea in bed on a cold day, or maybe those Oreos I treat myself to after a healthier dinner.
May 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'm not totally sure why Sue Miller doesn't get the credit she deserves. Or maybe she does and I'm unaware of it? I feel like she gets classed in that genre of books that includes Maeve Binchy and Rosamunde Pilcher and Jodi Picoult. Snob that I am, I've never actually read any of these authors. They are published as mass market paperbacks and their covers always involve a lot of pastel and flowers and seem destined for airport bookstores. (There is, of course, a related genre that is directed at ...more
Joy H.
Re: _The Senator's Wife_ by Sue Miller

CAUTION: I think it's best not to know too much about this story before you read it. So beware of reading the reviews until after you've read the book. With that in mind, I've tried not to over-tell anything about the story in my review below. Instead I've given my over-all impressions of the story and the writing as a whole.

I wouldn't call this book compelling, but for some strange reason I wanted to keep reading it. I usually don't like books which describ
Dec 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
After finishing this book, I realized I didn't really like any of the characters. At first Delia, the senator's wife, seems to be an interesting person. She appears to be a graciously realistic, secure older woman. As the book progresses, she becomes less so. Cracks appear in her seemingly flawless presentation, and in the end, she crumbles.

Meri never seems to have it all together. She is more real with her doubts and insecurities, but after what happens in the end, it's hard to like her. She i
Aug 13, 2009 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 28, 2012 rated it did not like it
Apologies for stating this bluntly, but this was a dumb book. None of the characters were likable at any point, and while that shouldn't be the basis for my opinion, they didn't even become slightly more likable as the book progressed. The two women in the book are just plain stupid and the senator is a caricature of a slimy politician who becomes more and more repulsive. Dumb.
Jan 03, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
I've had the same experience with both of the Sue Miller books I've read... this one and While I Was Gone. It starts out great, and I really do like Miller's handling of language, and then it all just goes wrong.

Another reviewer put it best... "uncomfortable". That's where these books take you -- to an uncomfortable place. And not the kind of uncomfortable where you think, "Oh, this is good for me, I need to learn something." No. It's just wrong somehow.

In both cases I've ended up completely d
It's never a good thing when you finish a book and your first thought is to wonder what was the point? This book meanders slowly and tediously through the lives of two women I thought would be interesting but turned out to be pathetic characters. The needless details the author included in this book made it twice as long as it needed to be. I listened to this in the car and finished only out of pure stubbornness.
Oct 09, 2008 rated it did not like it
Ok, let's just skip to the parts that take this book from 3 stars to one.

1) It drove me CRAZY to hear about how Tom cheated on Delia over and over and over and she always accepted him back into her life (and bed). He had a long-term affair with their daughter's friend! Gross! Delia's character was portrayed as so wise, worldly, and independent, so why on earth would someone like that allow themselves to be used like a doormat?

2) The graphic pregnancy and labor scenes. As if I wasn't h
Connie N.
Sep 15, 2012 rated it really liked it

There were many unflattering reviews for this book but I enjoyed it (after a bit of a slow start). The characters were compelling even if I didn't like them very much sometimes. The book went back and forth between Meri a young newlywed and Delia an elderly woman, both living in a duplex. I felt invested in the characters and their lives and found the relationships fascinating. The story seemed to be about life choices that everyone makes and the reactions of those around you to those decisions
Jan 19, 2008 rated it liked it
I always like Miller's writing style and this was book was no exception to that. Also, I've always liked her perspective on the minds of women who are disinterested in traditional women's roles/expectations.

In terms of the story, though, several parts of it were left unresolved, in my mind at least. For example, Meri struggles with the above throughout the story, but by the end is enjoying domestic bliss and is seemingly a different person---how or why this transition took place isn't clear to m
Mar 25, 2008 rated it did not like it
Shelves: adult-fiction
The senator's wife, Delia, is faithful to a fault. After her adultrous husband has embarrassed and humilated her numerous times, she still lives in a la-la, fairy tale land of denial. Delia is delusional in thinking that by running away to Paris for a few months, it puts everything into perspective. Add to that, the fact that she is a raging alcoholic. Her three kids, in varying degrees of disgust, offer some advice to Delia, which she categorically ignores. Meri and Nathan, Delia's next door ne ...more
Sep 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: maybe soap opera junkies?
My initial reaction to this book when I finished it was VERY negative! The final line in the book is something close to "What she did, she did for love." Are you kidding me? That's CRAP!!!!! That's like saying Judas' berayal of Jesus was done in love.

I admit I am having an emotional (over)reaction to this book. Yes there are triggers in this book that hit home for me. Maybe in a while I "might" come back and at least give this a 3 star rating b/c this story definitely pushed buttons and probabl
Mar 05, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: no one
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 06, 2008 rated it did not like it
I think the book cover for The Senator's Wife says it all - boring and unimaginative. Miller's latest tells the story about Delia, the wife of a former Washington senator, who hasn't lived with her philandering husband for decades. But, it is also the story of Meri, a newly married 38-year old who is pregnant with her first child. Meri and her husband Nathan move in next door to Delia, and Delia and Meri strike up a seeming friendship. My initial difficulty with the characters is that Meri is wr ...more
Jun 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Women
Recommended to Jenny by: A lady in the library
Disregard all my other 5 stars for this one. It was amazing. If you are a woman, read it! It was my first Sue Miller book and she is a very talented writer. I felt that the characters were very real. It was an extremely peaceful read and sometimes when something catastrophic is about to happen, an author will go into ridiculous detail right before it happens (ever notice that?) And a couple times she goes into extreme detail and you find yourself holding your breath and then you slowly let it ou ...more
Apr 22, 2009 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the overlapping stories of two women addressing conventional problems in their own ways; their lives are at the heart of this novel. Delia and Meri, through whose voices the story is told, are complex and believable characters who face external marital and familial issues while also dealing with questions of their own identities--how much of themselves is defined by the people in their lives, and what do they determine about themselves? The quirky relationship between the two women is ...more
May 19, 2012 rated it it was ok
Shelves: bookstoread
You know you have run into trouble when you finish a 320 page book and it only takes you two sentences to summarize the plot. The-Whole-Entire-Blooming-Thing. For those who don’t have the time to read this book, here is the Sparksnote version:

“…Inexplicably devout wife of philandering former senator learns that a massive stroke will not prevent a playa from remaining a playa. Meanwhile, next door, an ordinary couple in their mid-30s, awaiting the birth of their first baby, bore each other to the
Karen A.
Jun 12, 2008 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: my girlfriends
Shelves: general-fiction
I enjoyed this book immensely. It is a dually narrated story that goes back and forth between the two lives of Delia and Meri. Delia is an older woman who is the wife of the well known Senator Naughton. She lives alone on one side of an old New England duplex. Meri and her husband, a professor at the local College, move into the other side of the duplex. Meri is instantly intrigued by Delia and wonders as does the reader where her husband resides if not with his wife. Both women's stories unfold ...more
Sue Reichert
Jun 12, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Probably no one
Recommended to Sue by: Saw it in the Library
A book appropos of the political times- politicians cheating on their wives, destorying families and their careers. If more of these women left their cheating husbands and made examples of them, maybe the next philanderer would learn. My frustration grew with Delia. I don't understand the "stand by your man" attitude.

And please don't get me started on Meri.

This is the first book I've read of Sue Miller's. Are all her characters this shallow, whiney and self-absorbed? Let me know...I have The Go
Nov 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this and will hunt out her other books. I liked her style of writing

Really centered around Meri and Delia and their friendship. There is a plot but no great crescendo till the very end which is a slightly uncomfortable ending. Despite that I enjoyed it. May not be gripping enough for everyone but I found myself wanting to dive into it and see what happens
Dec 05, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: life-and-death
I suppose somewhere in the world, people talk like this, think like this, and act like this. I’m glad it seems foreign to me. The writing tics began to grate on my nerves around page 50, like the way synonyms are repeated to make a phrase seem profound, or how every fifth word of dialogue is italicized. “When everything is profound, darling, nothing is.” — Me, probably, if I showed up in this book.

Overall: it wasn’t bad (see, there I go again), but I’m in the mood for a lot more mayhem right now
Leah P
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Pleasant. Nothing ground breaking but overall, enjoyable. 3.5 stars.
Nov 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I really loved the book. This is my first Sue Miller's novel. I love the clean handwriting. There is no surplus in this novel. The book is all about life, its supposed image and its realm and it is also very gracious, warm and funny.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Subtle, rich and oh so close to home.

I find Sue Millar's writing stunning and this was no exception.

Deliah is strong, independent, and wise and feels like someone I would enjoy living next to. Meri is young a little gauche and needy the perfect neighbour..........Except for where Deliah's husband Tom is concerned, he is her Achilles heel.

For me, this story will linger for a while, and not just because of the writing. The subjects chosen resonated personally, Meri's labour was too close to mine
Feb 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: found-at-library
The Senator’s Wife by Sue Miller was an interesting and gripping read. The story is told from the dual perspectives of Delia, a seventy-four year old woman, and her new next door neighbor, Meri, a young, recently married woman. The story is also told in multiple time periods. The time period changes are identified and easy to follow.

The Senator’s Wife is a story about relationships, love, loss, longing, desires, and human nature. It’s about the uncertainty with which one’s adult life starts and
Robert Palmer
Feb 28, 2014 rated it really liked it
It is 1993 , Meri and her husband Nathan are looking at a house that Nathan really wants to buy in that it is next to the home of Senator, Tom Naughton,which is the only reason Nathan wants to buy it,Nathan has just a got a good job at a good collage in Williston in a department that will put him on the fast track to tenure. While Nathan and the real estate agent are looking through the house ,Meri stay's outside on the porch to smoke one of the four cigarettes she has per day.while sitting on t ...more
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Sue Miller is an American novelist and short story writer who has authored a number of best-selling novels. Her duties as a single mother left her with little time to write for many years, and as a result she did not publish her first novel until 1986, after spending almost
“Do you remember when everyone thought Bush (sr) had a mistress too"" he asks in the course of a Clinton era conversation. "But she was rumored to be someone wealthy and Waspy, of course...The problem here is the goddamn Democrats, who sleep down, you see. They love that white trash...And white trash loves publicity,so the Democrats are the ones who get into all the trouble. As opposed to the Republicans. They sleep up...Up, where all is Episcopalian and quiet as death itself, and no one ever has to hear a thing about it” 1 likes
“the way she felt about her past was that she had somehow come into being who she was without any connection to it. As if floating in naked and unencumbered on some shell,” 0 likes
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