The Forever Marriage

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Carmen wishes Jobe, the husband she never loved, dead--only to fall in love with him after he is gone. As she helps her three children grieve, she discovers, after a tryst with her most recent lover, that her own life may be in danger. Her emotions reeling, Carmen reflects on the fateful days of her youth that made her the person she has become: privileged suburban wife, unfaithful widow, mother of a child with Down syndrome, fierce friend.

The Forever Marriage is a compelling examination of a relationship and of a woman facing up to her imperfect past. It merits comparison to the best work of Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Berg, and Alice Sebold.


"Bauer and The Forever Marriage poignantly and powerfully illustrate the great and often tragic ironies of life." —Minneapolis Star Tribune
“Funny, surprising and gratifyingly honest, this novel poses unsparing questions about love and betrayal and the reasons we make the choices we do.” —MORE Magazine
“While in many ways a quiet story with a subtle arc, it is also an emotionally powerful page-turner — memorable and exquisitely written.” —BookReporter
“With lovely prose and fine pacing, Bauer offers a sensitive portrait of a flawed woman coming to terms with a lifetime of regrets.” —Publishers Weekly, starred review
“Bauer deftly draws all the characters. Love or hate Carmen, readers won’t soon forget the hot-blooded woman, and fans of Elizabeth Berg will want to meet her.” —Library Journal
“Written in a contemporary style that evokes the work of Anne Tyler, this is not only a well-nuanced story of youthful mistakes and adult consequences but also an unflinching look at one woman’s fight against breast cancer.” —Booklist
“At times dispassionate and self-absorbed and at other times emotional and selfless, Carmen follows a path of self-discovery that is often painful, poignant and undeniably real. Bauer crafts an insightful story…it’s a journey well worth taking.” —Kirkus
“The novel is infused with a sense of grace and redemption for characters Bauer makes us care about…” —St. Paul Pioneer Press
“Ann Bauer’s indelible portrait of a marriage rocked by fate and infidelity unfolds with the taut power of a thriller. The Forever Marriage is an observant, insightful, and utterly fresh look at the conflict involved in trying to share one’s life with another.” —Sabina Murray, author of The Caprices and Tales of the New World
“Bauer connects everyday life to the unexpected wars between body and psyche.  Her heroine’s blithe and convincing allure, and Bauer’s natural wit and lyric storytelling, give this novel of hard-won transformations an unforgettable force.” —Maria Flook, author of Invisible Eden, A Story of Love and Murder on Cape Cod and LUX