Richard Anyman’s “love of my life” dumps him without explanation right before he proposes marriage. Spun in, a mere shell of his former, enthusiastic self and unable to deal with what happened, he stumbles through his U. N. work assignments and after-hours Manhattan socialite events, losing friend after friend until Alice Mumfrey, rallies him from his dwindling spiral.  She turns him on to her recently deceased husband’s intimate journal and their library of classic romantic literature, which, in turn, kindle a marathon of memories, daydreams and nightmares for Anyman.

Goaded by library-researched tales of knighthood, courtly love, romanticism and the changing mores of love and sexuality up to our current times, he not only discovers his part in his past failures, but what he must do to find and build a new, everlasting love.

From a bench at Central Park’s Pond,  the Rose Room of the Plaza Hotel or his Beekman Tower flat high above Turtle Bay, he escapes back to his childhood, his sexual awakening and his unsuccessful attempts at losing his virginity.  At times centuries back, his recalls lead him to redemption once the bond that ties freedom to responsibility becomes inseparable in his mind; once love given, becomes more important than love received.

     But Anyman’s recovery will remain unrequited unless the lover coming toward him survives her gauntlet.

Carmela Eddington, a lifelong and platonic friend, must navigate maelstroms of forced fatherly incest, rebounding sexual encounters with throw-away lovers and an unexpected, albeit wildly successful, business/love affair with her college roommate, Emily Lagano, daughter of a local Mafia clan, erstwhile rape victim… and the lover which, later, dumps Anyman. 

On an evening when Anyman needs  the succor of Eddington’s familiarity, out of the blue he asks, “Why, Carmela, have we never before become lovers?”

“It’s complicated,” she replies.

What she says next both stuns him and opens an unexpected portal through which true love blossoms for Anyman.

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