Desperate Housewives


Listen to the bibliography

[ or download the media file ]

To order any of these titles, contact the library by email, mail or phone. You may also request these titles online through our OPAC. Happy Reading!

Television is not the only place you will find desperate housewives and Wisteria Lane is not the only neighborhood. Below you will find some stories of women and their angst. This list comes to you compliments of Kathie Corrigan from the Illinois Talking Book Library.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik.
Five small town Minnesota neighbors form a book club and lasting friendships. There's Faith, a lonely housewife; Audrey, the resident sex queen; Kari, the oldest; Slip, the activist; and Merit, an abused wife. They share three decades of personal dramas. Strong language, some descriptions of sex, and some violence. RC 58768.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.
In the 1870s in Russia, Anna flaunts convention by having an adulterous affair with Count Vronsky. Preferring the allure of romance to her stifling marriage with Alexis Karenina, Anna's happiness disintegrates as she loses her peace of mind. Originally published in 1877. RC 49499, BR 12695. Also available as a descriptive video, DV 278.

Brick Lane by Monica Ali.
Nazneen, an eighteen-year-old girl from a small Bangladesh village, is wed to much older Chanu in an arranged marriage and moves to London where her Muslim religious, social, and moral traditions clash with Western culture. Transformed by the experience, she embraces new freedoms and examines the role of fate in her life. RC 57490.

Cha Cha Cha by Jane Heller.
Alison Koff, 35, lives in an extravagant house and writes about celebrities for the local paper. Then the stock market crashes, her husband leaves her for his first wife, and she is forced to take a job as a maid for visiting writer, hateful Melanie Moloney. Adjusting to her poor lifestyle and a new boyfriend. Alison is shocked to be accused of murdering Moloney. Strong language and explicit descriptions of sex. RC 40669.

Compromising Positions by Susan Isaacs.
When a lecherous Long Island dentist is murdered in his office, his last patient, Marilyn Tuccio, is suspected. Judith Singer, a wisecracking housewife and Marilyn's neighbor, cannot resist playing detective. She also finds police lieutenant Nelson Sharpe more appealing than her stodgy husband. Some explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. RC 56520, BR 14888.

The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen.
Because her husband, Alfred, has Parkinson's disease, elderly midwestern housewife Enid Lambert seeks to gather her grown children for one last Christmas together. Unhappily married banker Gary, recently fired professor Chip, and bisexual chef Denise have other ideas. Strong language and some explicit description of sex. RC 53073, BR 13651.

Distant Shores by Kristin Hannah.
During their 24 years of marriage, Elizabeth Shore has devoted her life to Jack and their two daughters while ignoring her dream of painting. When Jack is offered a high profile sportscaster job in New York, Elizabeth begins to question her own priorities. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 56933.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.
At forty, Sidda Walker is a famous theater director whose life spirals downward after a New York Times interview implies that her mother, Vivi, was a child abuser. Vivi immediately disowns Sidda, but the Ya-Yas, Vivi's longtime friends, intervene. Ya Ya series, book 2. Strong language and some descriptions of sex. RC 45768, BR 14189. Also available as a descriptive video, DV 493.

The End of the Affair by Graham Greene.
Set in London in 1939, this book tells the tale of author Maurice Bendrix. Maurice has a love affair with Sarah Miles, the wife of a civil servant, which ends abruptly. Years later, Bendrix explores the emotions that still torment him and ponders Sarah's commitment to a God he cannot fathom. RC 52415, BR 13593.

The First Time by Joy Fielding.
Jake, who married Mattie sixteen years ago because she was pregnant, leaves her for his latest mistress. Meanwhile, Mattie experiences odd symptoms and learns she has Lou Gehrig's disease. When Jake insists on moving back in, the couple's relationship slowly changes. Some explicit descriptions of sex and strong language. RC 51223, BR 13257.

Footprints by Shelby Hearon.
After the sudden death of their grown daughter, Doug and Nan Mayhall confront the long-suppressed conflicts of their marriage. As Doug takes a young lover, Nan retreats to the security of her relinquished academic career. It takes another tragic event to bring healing to the estranged couple. Strong language. RC 43395.

The Hot Flash Club by Nancy Thayer.
Four menopausal women collaborate to solve their problems. Paleobiologist Marilyn mistrusts her son's fiancee. Thrice-divorced masseuse Shirley hopes to open a spa. African American executive Alice senses younger colleagues want her job. Widowed artist Faye worries that her son-in-law cheats.Some explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. RC 59327.

Ladder of Years by Anne Tyler.
Forty-year-old Delia Grinstead has always lived in her late father's Baltimore house. She is married to her physician father's former assistant, and their youngest child is in high school. When Delia is attracted to a younger man she meets in the market, she begins to question her comfortable life. On a whim, she walks away from a family vacation and begins a new life in a small town as the efficient Miss Grinstead. RC 40054.

Little Children by Tom Perrotta.
Sarah, mother and lapsed feminist, has a husband increasingly fond of Internet smut. She meets handsome would-be lawyer Todd at the kids' playground. Their scandalous affair and a convicted child molester's arrival disrupt life in this uneventful sleepy suburb. Strong language and some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 57891.

Lucia, Lucia by Adrienne Trigiani.
Kit Zanetti visits her elderly Greenwich Village neighbor, Lucia Sartori, and learns the story of her life. In the 1950s, beautiful Lucia rejects the values of her large Italian family by working in the fashion industry, breaking off her engagement, and falling in love with a con man. Some strong language. RC 56867.

Lucy Crocker 2.0 by Caroline Preston.
At her husband Ed's urging, artist Lucy Crocker designed a wildly successful fantasy computer game. When she cannot get motivated to design the sequel, Ed fires her. Learning that Ed is fooling around with a colleague, Lucy flees to a childhood cabin to rethink her life. Some strong language. BR 13050.

Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
A young, middle class Frenchwoman, Emma Bovary, is bored with her husband (an inept doctor) and their country existence. Her romantic fantasies lead her astray, into adultery and self-destruction. Translated by Gerard Hopkins. Originally published in 1857. RC 49192, BR 12480.

The Mrs. Dalloway Reader by Virginia Woolf.
This book is a selection of critical essays exploring the evolution and impact of Virginia Woolf's 1925 classic novel Mrs. Dalloway and the companion piece, "Mrs. Dalloway's Party." This book includes the two works, Woolf's journal entries and letters regarding the works' creation, and various writers' commentary. RC 58332, BR 15586.

Mrs. Kimble by Jennifer Haigh.
Three women each thought they had found the perfect man when they married Ken Kimble. First wife, Birdie, met the minister in the 1960s. Joan stole him away in 1969, and much younger Dinah snagged him a decade later. The Mrs. Kimbles eventually discover his lies. Descriptions of sex and strong language. RC 57665.

Open House by Elizabeth Berg.
Abandoned at 42, Samantha must make a new life for herself and her eleven year old son. After a shopping spree, at her husband's expense, she decides to take in boarders for an income. King, who helps Samantha's first tenant move in, becomes a friend and encourages her independence. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. RC 50525.

The Passion of Dellie O'Barr by Cindy Bonner.
The youngest De Lony sister has now, in the 1880s, grown up. Although married to Daniel, a solid and settled man, Andy, whose political agitation churns the emotions of the rural Texas town, sweeps Dellie off her feet. Throwing aside convention, Dellie foolishly follows her heart. DeLony Sisters series, book 3. Explicit descriptions of sex and some strong language. RC 40982.

Queen Bee of Mimosa Beach by Haywood Smith.
Cynical Lin Breedlove Scott is left penniless after her husband runs off with a stripper. Forced to return to her southern hometown, Lin reconnects with her eccentric family and old friends as she struggles to take charge of her life. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. RC 58754.

The Queen of the Big Time by Adrienne Trigiani.
Set in Roseto, Pennsylvania, This book follows three generations of the Italian American Castelluca family from 1924 to 1971. Nella falls in love with a handsome poet who unexpectedly departs and then returns on the eve of her wedding. Some years later, Nella's niece is crowned queen of an annual festival. Some descriptions of sex. RC 59995.

The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope.
For twenty years, Anna Bouverie lived a stifled, penurious life as wife of the village rector. Her husband is passed over for a promotion to archdeacon, and she retreats into bitterness. She begins a journey of self-discovery, taking a menial job and two new lovers. RC 43361.

Revenge of the Middle-Aged Woman by Elizabeth Buchan.
After 25 years of domestic bliss, Rose Lloyd loses both her husband and her job at a London newspaper to her young assistant. Devastated, Rose reexamines life, motherhood, and love, as she fights to move on with her unexpected independence. Some descriptions of sex and some strong language. BR 15289.

The Saving Graces by Patricia Gaffney.
A Washington, D.C. women's group, Emma, Rudy, Lee, and Isabel, meets for ten years to discuss everything and everybody. The four establish a firm bond as they share their experiences in love, divorce, adultery, and infertility. When one is diagnosed with cancer, they rally to offer support. Some strong language. RC 50013.

Step-Ball-Change by Jeanne Ray.
Raleigh, North Carolina. Sixtyish Carolina McSwain's daughter is engaged to the richest man in town. Her family is expected to foot the bill for the 900 guest event. Then, Carolina's abandoned sister moves in, bringing her ankle-nipping terrier. Meanwhile the crew renovating Carolina's house seems to live there. Some strong language. RC 54619, BR 14245.

The Stepford Wives by Ira Levin.
Joanna moves to an idyllic small town with her husband and children. She soon notices that all of the housewives appear to be beautiful but brainless zombies, and the men disappear nightly into their mysterious clubhouse. 2002 introduction by Peter Straub. Some strong language. RC 56376.

The Summer I Dared by Barbara Delinsky.
While visiting her aunt's small Maine Island, Manhattan homemaker Julia Bechtel survives a ferry collision, as does divorced lobsterman Noah Prine. United by the tragedy that killed nine, Julia and Noah investigate the accident, reevaluate their lives, and find solace together. Some explicit descriptions of sex. RC 58542.

The Summerhouse by Jude Deveraux.
Leslie, Ellie, and Madison first met on their twenty-first birthday at the Department of Motor Vehicles in New York City. Now, on their fortieth birthday, these women meet again to take stock of their lives and the choices they have made. They do not expect the opportunity they are about to be offered. Some strong language. RC 52370.

The Sunday Wife by Cassandra King.
Dean accompanies her overbearing preacher husband, Ben, to his new post. She befriends Augusta, a free spirit who encourages Dean to break loose from her complacent life. Tensions precede tragedy as Dean becomes increasingly estranged from Ben and the church. Strong language, some descriptions of sex, and some violence.

Switcheroo by Olivia Goldsmith.
Two friends, Jada and Michelle, lean on each other when both their marriages take frightening turns. They find additional support in recently wed Angela, an attorney who herself is reeling from a nasty marital surprise. Strong language, some explicit descriptions of sex, and some violence. RC 46191.

Tara Road by Maeve Binchy.
In Ireland, Ria's marriage falls apart when her husband leaves her for his pregnant girlfriend; in Connecticut, Marilyn, unable to cope with her son's death, separates from her husband. A phone call sets in motion a swapping of houses for the summer and the chance for each woman to rediscover herself. RC 47670.

Thursdays at Eight by Debbie Macomber.
Four women friends from a writing class meet weekly for breakfast and companionship. Despite their age differences, Clare, Liz, Karen, and Julia find support and solace during difficult times that include divorce, death, career decisions, and motherhood. RC 54737.