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Mary Frances Gerety's greatest contribution to American romance, not to mention the jewelry industry, was the tagline she wrote for her employer, the N.W. Ayer advertising agency: "A diamond is forever." Under the umbrella of the real-life Frances's career, Sullivan weaves the stories of four couples bound together over decades by one opulent and iconic diamond engagement ring. We begin in the 1970s with the Pearsalls, reeling from their immature son's abandonment of his family for a flagrant affair. In the 1980s, EMT James and nurse Sheila struggle in a stagnant Boston economy while working low-income jobs. In the early aughts, a beautiful French woman abandons her husband as she is consumed by passion for a brilliant and much younger American violinist, to whom she becomes engaged-until his behavior sends her on a rampage. A decade later, Kate and Dan eschew marriage while they prepare for the same-sex nuptials of Kate's gay cousin. -VERDICT Sullivan (Maine; Commencement) has written an intricate, beautifully timed novel, so delicious in its gradual unfolding that readers will want to reread it immediately to enjoy the fully realized ties. [See Prepub Alert, 12/16/12.]- Beth Andersen, Ann Arbor Dist. Lib., MI (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
A pioneering, single career woman writes what becomes a legendary slogan for a product she will never use. A husband and wife teeter on the edge of bankruptcy after she is mugged and her most precious piece of jewelry is stolen. A mother despairs over the end of her son's marriage as she recalls the precarious circumstances of her own. A married French woman becomes engaged to an American musician only to discover him cheating on her with her best friend. An overly practical woman nearly ruins her gay cousin's wedding. Inspired by the real-life story of Frances Gerety, a 1940s copywriter who penned the A Diamond Is Forever tagline for DeBeers, Sullivan riffs on the fragile state of marriage through a clever series of loosely connected vignettes. At the heart of each episode lies that sparkly symbol of romantic commitments, and what could have been a distractingly disjointed narrative style is give a sharp and crystalline coherence by virtue of Sullivan's sometimes bold, sometimes nuanced improvisation on the resonance of the diamond engagement ring.--Haggas, Carol Copyright 2010 Booklist