Valentine’s Day. The day coupled up people feel entitled to ask their divorced friends more probing personal questions than usual. They do this under the guise of “just wanting you to be happy.” Scowl. Hiss. The assumption that I am unhappy because I’m alone is offensive, thank you. I’m always tempted to ask how their marriage is and when the offender and their partner last had sex, but instead I turn to books. These three in particular are relatable to awkward conversations and deep emotions, the Valentine’s Day plight of many divorcees.
In this novel, Kwan explores the complicated relationships of a wealthy family. Astrid’s tumultuous relationship with her ex-husband interferes with almost everything in her life, including rekindling her childhood crush. Throw in an ailing, aging grandma and cutthroat relatives vying for inheritance and it gets messy, much like divorce.
Maribeth Klein does something most overworked, underappreciated mothers and wives only dream of: she leaves. After having a heart attack, that she didn’t even realize she was having because she’s so busy, Maribeth is unable to recover in a house with her mother (there to “help”), her husband, her twins, and her job nagging her. When she tries to ask for help, no one listens, so she leaves. Nowhere to go. No permission. No plan. She walks out and takes the time she needs for her heart to heal, physically and otherwise.
“Let him come for her. She, too, had teeth.” The Day of the Duchess by Sarah MacLean
Seraphina, Duchess of Haven, returns after three years in hiding to ask Parliament for a divorce. Already part of a scandal, being one of the infamous Soiled Sisters, Sera aims to leave her husband and open a series of taverns throughout London. She was successful at it in America the past three years and is determined to gain her independence, but her husband is determined for a different outcome. The third book in MacLean’s Scandal and Scoundrel series, Sera’s story is just as clever and even more heart-wrenching than the earlier books in the series. Reliving some of the arguments and emotions of my own divorce, this book simultaneously had me grateful for my singleness and had me rooting for Sera’s happiness.