Penguin £6.99 (464pp) from the Independent Bookshop: 08430 600 030
Separate Beds, By Elizabeth Buchan
The plight of the middle-aged, middle-class woman has long rested at the heart of Elizabeth Buchan's bestselling fiction.
Her latest mid-lifer, 49-year-old NHS manager, Annie Nicholson, is battling with more than just hot flushes and flax-seed supplements.
She and her BBC executive husband Tom haven't shared a bed for five years, and they've recently lost contact with their eldest daughter, Mia, after a family row.
Annie's marriage is further tested when Tom loses his job and his elderly mother moves in, forcing his impromptu return to the matrimonial bed.
A novelist who addresses contemporary family issues with a winning combination of asperity and warmth, Buchan genteelly airs the issues that push once dewy-eyed partners apart.
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