Ann Bauer's novel, The Forever Marriage, opens with the death of the main character's husband. But as we read on, Carmen manages to avoid our sympathy. It turns out that she experiences his death as a relief, and not just because it ends his suffering.
The mother of three, including a son with Down's Syndrome, Carmen managed to find time to cheat on the dying husband she never loved in spite of his being a pretty swell guy. In flashbacks to the 80s, she explains how she was manipulated into marrying him because he was wealthy and nice to her and she had no idea what to do after college.
I enjoy a flawed main character and thought Carmen was ripe for a pretty intense story of redemption. But I was disappointed to find her not much changed by the book's end. The story was well-written but I found most of the dilemmas difficult to relate to or car about.