Reminiscent of the work of Laurie Colwin, This Side of Married is a brilliant, ironic, domestic comedy of manners. Full of surprises, yet filled with feeling, it is witty, intelligent, and utterly delicious.
The Rubin daughters are three eligible sisters from an affluent suburban Philadelphia family whose well-meaning but domineering mother is single-mindedly determined to see them all happily married. We meet them at a Sunday brunch, where Dr. Rubin is scheming to introduce her eldest daughter, Alice, to a doctor who is almost too good to be true. But why hasn’t Alice, who is beautiful and smart, been able to find a husband on her own? Is her sister Isabel genuinely happy in her marriage—and if so, why won’t her husband cooperate with her attempts to get pregnant? And is Tina, the youngest of the sisters, as shallow as she seems, or is she something worse than shallow?
Like a modern Jane Austen, Rachel Pastan gives us an utterly delicious novel in which “the mating habits of the subspecies we might call Very Intelligent Women are examined by a writer whose eye is sharp, whose wit is keen, and whose heart is open to the possibilities that love offers” (Ann Packer).