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Joseph had once been a handsome man.

Even now, he was straight, unstooped; his bald head was somehow distinguished rather than lacking, as if men, important men, aspired to a smooth shining pate. His nose was narrow and protruded importantly. His eyes were also narrow and, as he aged, increasingly protected by folds of skin, as if they were secrets. Women liked him. Betty had certainly liked him, once. He was quiet and unobtrusive, requiring only a large breakfast before he went to work, a large glass of Scotch when he arrived home, and a small, light dinner at sharp. Over the years, Betty began to forget that she liked Joseph.

The large breakfast seemed grotesque, the drink obsessive, the light supper an affectation.


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This happened in their third decade together and lasted until their fourth. Betty was once again content, in love, even. They traveled to Tuscany and stood in the Chianti hills watching the swallows and the swift clouds of slate-gray rain approaching. They took a train through India from one palace to the next, imagining the vanished Raj and eating fragrant delicate curries.

They did all these things together. And then, all these things stopped. What does that have to do with divorce?

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The Three Weissmanns of Westport: A Novel by Cathleen Schine, Paperback | Barnes & Noble®

It was as if she were the maid and she was being fired. And the divorce, like horses in a muddy race, their sides frothing, was off and running.

The beauty and the beast

Just as Jane Austen delighted readers with wise heroines and surprising turns of fate, Cathleen Schine delivers a world of wry insight in each of her novels. With The Three Weissmanns of Westport, she brings Sense and Sensibility to modern-day Connecticut, where Betty Weissmann and her two middle-aged daughters have begun living as exiles. At age seventy-five, Betty has been dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years.

He and his mistress have set up housekeeping in the sumptuous Manhattan apartment that Betty had called home for most of her adult life. Her other daughter, Annie, is smitten with the brother of her stepfather's mistress. Banding together against a slew of looming crises, Betty, Miranda, and Annie find refuge in a run-down beach cottage owned by a generous cousin. Raising timeless questions of the heart, The Three Weissmanns of Westport is an ideal selection for reading groups.

The topics that follow are designed to enhance your experience as you discuss this captivating novel of reason versus romance. How do Betty and her daughters relate to men? Do the three women have the same expectations about love and relationships? How do the Weissmann women define "home"? What does the Manhattan apartment mean to them? What do their reactions to the Westport cottage say about their personalities?

Would you have enjoyed living there? In Sense and Sensibility, Mrs. Dashwood does her best to help her family thrive despite dwindling fortunes. What challenges do women still face in such situations, even with the cultural changes that have taken place since Jane Austen was writing? If Miranda could meet Marianne, what advice would the two characters give each other? The fact that Miranda and Annie are not Joseph's biological children also mirrors Austen's plot. Would Joseph have handled the divorce differently if the girls had been his biological daughters?

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Is Frederick a good father to Gwen and Evan? What stokes Annie's attraction to him throughout the novel? Is Betty very much like her relatives? Which of your family members would you turn to if you were in her situation?

The Three Weissmanns of Westport

What accounts for the similarities and differences between Annie and Miranda? Are both women simply driven by their temperaments, or have they shaped each other's personalities throughout their lives? How does their relationship compare to yours with your own siblings?

Schine's work often blends humor with misfortune, such as Miranda's undoing by authors who turn out to be plagiarists and extreme fabricators. What other aspects of the novel capture the tragicomic way life unfolds? Why is it so hard for Joseph to understand why his stepdaughters are mad at him? Why does he prefer Felicity to Betty? Discuss the revelations about Amber. In what way is her romantic situation similar to Felicity's? Ultimately, how do the Weissmanns reconcile sense with sensibility? Who are the book's most rational characters?

Who is the most emotional? What makes Roberts remarkable eventually? Who are the overlooked "characters" in your life story? What aspects of the ending surprised you the most? What had you predicted for Betty, and for Leanne? Do the novel's closing scenes reflect an Austen ending? Does the storytelling style in The Three Weissmanns of Westport remind you of Schine's other portraits of love? What makes the Weissmanns' story unique? See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books.

With an OverDrive account, you can save your favorite libraries for at-a-glance information about availability. Find out more about OverDrive accounts. In this sparkling contemporary adaptation of Sense and Sensibility, sisters Miranda, an impulsive but successful literary agent, and Annie, a pragmatic library director, quite unexpectedly find themselves the middle-aged products of a broken home when their mother, Betty, is dumped by her husband of nearly fifty years. Exiled from her elegant New York apartment by her husband's new mistress, Betty is forced to move to a small, run-down beach cottage in Westport, Connecticut, owned by her wealthy and generous Cousin Lou.

Joining her are Miranda, who is escaping unexpected literary scandals, and Annie, who dutifully comes along to keep on eye on her capricious mother and sister.

As the sisters mingle with the suburban aristocracy, love starts to blossom for both of them, and they find themselves struggling with the dueling demands of reason and romance. OverDrive uses cookies and similar technologies to improve your experience, monitor our performance, and understand overall usage trends for OverDrive services including OverDrive websites and apps. We use this information to create a better experience for all users. Please review the types of cookies we use below. These cookies allow you to explore OverDrive services and use our core features.

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