Songs in Ordinary Time is set in the summer of 1960 - the last of quiet times and America's innocence. It centers on Marie Fermoyle, a strong but vulnerable woman whose loneliness and ambition for her children make her easy prey for the dangerous con man Omar Duvall. Marie's children are Alice, seventeen - involved with a troubled young priest; Norm, sixteen - hotheaded and idealistic; and Benjy, twelve - isolated and misunderstood, and so desperate for his mother's happiness that he hides the deadly truth only he knows about Duvall. Among a fascinating cast of characters we meet the children's alcoholic father, Sam Fermoyle, now living with his senile mother and embittered sister; Sam's meek brother-in-law, who makes anonymous "love" calls from the bathroom of his ailing appliance store; and the Klubock family, who - in complete contrast to the Fermoyles - live an orderly life in the perfect house next door.
An Oprah Winfrey Book Club pick.