Broadway Books


Thousands of women have been inspired by Joan Anderson's book, A Year by the Sea, and her weekend by the sea workshops. Here are some of the ways in which they have attempted to refresh their lives, by taking risks and taking a new road.

-- A woman from California decided to take a "personal week" -- a planned personal vacation from the world, walking on the beach, reading writing, and praying, and finding a sculpting class.

-- One woman bought herself a tiny house in Florida, and now splits her time between there and Maryland where her husband resides.

-- One woman took a cross-country trip by herself, sleeping at truck stops. Why did she do it? She says that basically, she realized that while her family may have loved her, they really didn't care whether she was happy, or about what made her happy, so she decided that the only one who was responsible for her own happiness was herself.

-- A woman took a break from her relationship and rented a cottage by the sea for three weeks.

-- Another is planning to spend twenty-four hours in a tent in her back

-- One woman, born in Ghana, who moved to the States when she was eight years old and longed to go home... Home became a nature center in Trinidad where she went with her children to rediscover herself in an atmosphere almost like home.

About The Book

In this moving sequel to her national bestseller A Year by the Sea, Joan Anderson explores the challenges of rebuilding and renewing a marriage with her trademark candor, compassion, and insight.

With A Year by the Sea, Joan Anderson struck a chord in many tens of thousands of readers. Her brave decision to take a year for herself away from her marriage, her frank assessment of herself at midlife, and her openness in sharing her fears as well as her triumphs won her admirers and inspired women across the country to reconsider their options. In this new book, Anderson does for marriage what she did for women at midlife. Using the same very personal approach, she shows us her own rocky path to renewing a marriage gone stale, satisfying the demand from readers and reviewers to learn what comes next.

When Joan and her husband Robin decided to repair and renew their marriage after her eye-opening year of self-discovery, the outcome was far from certain. He had suddenly decided to retire and move to Cape Cod himself and embark on his own journey of midlife reinvention. After the initial shock of incorporating another person back into Joan's daily life and her treasured cottage, they begin the process of "recycling"-using the original materials of their marriage to create a new partnership. Rereading the letters that she had written from Uganda during the early years of their marriage, she is reminded about the nervousness and joy with which she began their life together. Her sudden incapacitation with a broken ankle reveals an unexpected resourceful and tender side in her husband. A grimly comic and strained dinner party with three other couples reveals to both Joan and Robin some of the emotional pitfalls (and horrors) that can befall married couples.

In her year of solitude by the sea, Anderson learned that "there is no greater calling than to make a new creation out of the old self." In An Unfinished Marriage, she charts the new journey that she and her husband have begun together, seasoned by their years of marriage but newly awakened to the possibilities of their future together. A unique, tremendously moving and insightful entry into the literature of marriage, it will provide salutary shocks of recognition and fresh hope for all women and men negotiating their own marital passages.

An Unfinished Marriage
Joan Anderson
March 2003