Popsy Power has the life that most women dream about. She is fabulously wealthy, married to the man of her dreams and has two beautiful, successful daughters. Her life seems to be carefree and fun.
But all of that changes when her husband loses all of his money, and her house, her car and her well-being are jeopardized.
Popsy finds out both of her daughters have perilous love lives. Lily is having an affair with a married man, and Rosie has a husband whose eye is not the only thing wandering.
Popsy’s life is quickly spinning out of control, taking a downward spiral into despair and loneliness. Her best friend, Sandra, is in a similar predicament. Together, they drop everything and head to Ireland, where they hope to leave their troubles behind and soak up the beautiful scenery.
“Wellesley Wives” tells the story of Popsy’s fall from the top and her courageous journey to reality. Suzy Duffy does a fabulous job of writing from the perspective of a rich socialite who is still down to Earth. Duffy paints the picture of a life of luxury that is lost so suddenly that Popsy either has to adapt or be swallowed by the depths of misery. Duffy brings the life of the rich “homemaker” to the general public and actually makes her somewhat relatable.
The story is fun and entertaining, but Popsy seems a little too good to be true. She suffers inexorable pain, but somehow snaps out of her misery in a way that seems a bit unrealistic. She just seems so courageous, smart and sensible that no woman could live up to such a standard.
Though the major plot line focuses on Popsy’s plight, Rosie’s and Lily’s subplots are much more realistic and entertaining.
Rosie is in a marriage that is on the rocks, and she is not sure how to fix it. After the birth of her daughter, she has let herself go a little. She has gained weight, lost her fabulous sense of style and changed from a party girl to a marvelous mommy. She loves her husband and her daughter, but she is unfulfilled and seems to have lost herself in her family.
Rosie’s predicament is so touching because so many moms are victims of the same fate. Her story has nothing to do with being rich or poor, but many women experience the same loss of self that she does. Rosie’s struggle to make everyone in her life happy despite her misery is a struggle that the author brings to life in a way that makes the character seem like she could be a neighbor, sister or friend. Rosie is real – good, bad, and at times, ugly – in a way that makes the reader want to hug her and tell her it will all be OK.
Likewise, Lily handles her suffering like many women: she locks herself in her house and calls in sick to work. Lily is having an affair with an older married man who keeps promising her he will leave his wife. When he finally does leave his wife and moves right in with Lily, the passion and romance that has set the relationship on fire begins to fizzle out.
When her knight in shining armor decides he needs a little space, Lily falls into a deep and shameful despair. She shuts out the world and wallows in her misery. Like Rosie, Lilly is real. She handles her troubles without courage and strength, but with a self-indulgence that is almost tangible. Lily is a character that the reader will love to hate and hate to love. She is a victim of a man’s manipulation and her own selfishness. Again, as with her sister, she is due a hug and a pep talk to help her get back up on her feet for a second chance at love.
Overall, Suzy Duffy tells a tale of romance, misery, love, deceit, courage, cowardice, and above all, hope. Each woman deals with her dilemma in a different way: resilience and courage, anger, compliance, and self-pity. The Wellesley Wives endure anguish that is almost insufferable, but in the end, they find hope.