A chance encounter with a stranger on an airplane sends Elyse Bearden into an emotional tailspin. Suddenly Elyse is willing to risk everything: her safe but stale marriage, her seemingly perfect life in an affluent Southern suburb, and her position in the community. She finds herself cutting through all the instincts that say “no” and instead lets “yes” happen. As Elyse embarks on a risky affair, her longtime friend Kelly and the other women in their book club begin to question their own decisions about love, sex, marriage, and freedom. There are consequences for Elyse, her family, and her circle of close friends, all of whom have an investment in her life continuing as normal. But is normal what she really wants after all? In the end it will take an extraordinary leap of faith for Elyse to find–and follow–her own path to happiness.An intelligent, sexy, absorbing tale and an honest look at modern-day marriage, Love in Mid Air offers the experience of what it’s like to change the course of one’s own destiny when finding oneself caught in mid air.
Review: From the first page, I was hooked on Ms. Wright’s writing style, on the story and on the characters. Love in Mid Air isn’t your typical love triangle story.
Elyse is a complex character. On the one hand, I liked her and felt for her situation on the other hand I could not relate to her at all, she is nothing like anyone I have ever known. Elyse may not be an easy character to root for in most cases but the same could be said for Phil, or Gerry or for any of the other characters in the book.
Elyse Bearden is the unfulfilled wife of a successful North Carolina dentist with an adorable daughter and a nice disposable income that allows her to pursue her “art” throwing pots. On a trip back from Phoenix, she switches her seat as a favor to another passenger and sits next to Gerry, a successful Boston businessman who proceeds to talk, then to flirt, and then to play tonsil hockey in an airport chapel during a flight change. Elyse is unhappy with her life and has a husband who neglects her. She eventually falls into bed with Gerry and the rest of the story is taken up with her once monthly trips to hook up with him in locations around the country while she becomes kinkier in their relationship in an attempt to keep her passion alive then proceeds to tell herself that everything will be fine if she is only looking for happiness without hurting anyone else.
Ms. Wright did a smart thing in making Elyse’s husband Phil a likable, decent man, a good father and good provider but a man she simply did not love. Gerry as a character doesn’t work for me; I don’t find their relationship believable. He just doesn’t seem to fit into the plot he seems someone that Elyse could easily have replaced with something battery operated that doesn’t involve adultery. The ending itself is not very believable and seems totally out of character for Phil.
Elyse’s girlfriends, members of her book club, were a varied bunch, each one an individual in her own way, from best friend Kelly, to the “perfect” pastor’s wife Nancy, to recently divorced Lynn, to sweet Belinda. While the obvious love interest in the book is Gerry – – I felt that the really best story in the book was the close friendship between Elyse and BFF Kelly. These two were friends that truly loved each other, that depended on each other stuck together through thick and thin. They had a real understanding of each other that neither woman shared with any other person in the book. It was a very welcome diversion.
Despite the subject matter of Love in Mid Air (because adultery is hardly a fun subject), I enjoyed the book. The story was relatively sad – – a woman who felt trapped in a marriage that everyone else considered successful and happy, and a husband who believes everything to be fine and can’t grasp the dismal situation his marriage is in.
For the more conservative readers, this book may be a bit too much to handle. There is the obvious adultery, and there are a few sexual situations and strong language. Love in Mid Air is, however, a perfect read for a book club as there are so many debatable issues that would spark conversation for hours. Is any adultery forgivable? Is Elyse a bad person? Is Gerry? Is Phil? Why would Phil not question Elyse flying around every month? Why would her best friend be so enabling of her behavior? Why join a church if you don’t really believe? Does anyone in this novel believe in love and happily ever after?