Lydia’s Party, by Margaret Hawkins, drops us into an annual ladies’ party with a group of old friends. But we start with the afternoon preparations and realize that the hostess is likely dying from cancer. And, indeed, she might not have long to live. Each character is facing her own internal questions and external conflicts.
What I really enjoyed about the book was how insightful Hawkins was in sharing the complexities of long-term relationships, both male and female. We all do need to make compromises if we’re to be intimate as all individuals are deeply flawed. Over time, as our compromises get larger, we begin to find the right justifications for those we love.
The characters in the book are richly drawn and believable. Mostly, they do fall into very narrow categories, which can work as they’re all friends. Even the success of the lot is conflicted and not sold completely on her own choices and character. I was at that party while reading.
What didn’t work for me is the book’s end. I still think the book is a worthwhile read but I do want to point out the flaw. The book gets, frankly, silly and a little too touchy feely for me as the story comes to a close. A shame…as the book before then is fabulous.
So I do recommend it. To reflect on life, death, friendship, aging and the choices and compromises we all make in life. Just suspend disbelief at the end. Perhaps life is like that anyway.