Book Review – Marriage Vows (Gail Schimmel)

Blog_marriage vows


She had the perfect marriage … and then she met the man of her dreams.

It was the publication of her latest novel, The Park, that reminded me of this gem by South African author, Gail Schimmel. Someone ‘borrowed’ my copy back in the day. You know how it goes … Now, nine years after its publication in 2008, I decided to reread Marriage Vows. I’m glad I did.

The story

The book spans one day – Jordi Gordan’s 55th birthday – and memories of more than 20 years. Through reminiscing we get to know Jordi (a.k.a. Jordan Maddox) and her loved ones. Her husband Hal, children Max and Jessica, her mother with Alzheimer’s, her best friend Sally (others, too) and Nico, the other man ‘in her life’ and her secret of more than two decades.

Jordi’s experienced a lot in her 55 years – childbirth, death, childhood memories she’d rather forget, growing into a successful business owner, travels (both solo and with family), and marriage with all its ups and downs. Through life experiences that included mistakes, highs, lows and temptations, Jordi’s had one resolve: to stay faithful to her husband, come what may.

My two cents

I enjoyed Marriage Vows the second time around. Not as much as the first time, but still.

It’s a light, yet engrossing read that deals with topics like depression,  friendship, religion (which is apparently a phase that some people go through and then get over) and infidelity, and the characters (especially Jordi) are likeable to the point where I felt as if she was someone I knew personally. This time around I read more quickly through her thoughts as I could not wait for the events on her birthday to unfold.

The second read brings new insights

What I didn’t note the last time around (or maybe I forgot – it is nine years later), is this (page 264):

While looking at people in a restaurant, Jordi calls the first group “a group of young women, in about their early twenties” while the second group is called “a table of coloured girls …”. I’m curious as to why the first group did not need a racial description, but the second group did? Perhaps I’m oversensitive when it comes to these things.

To sum up

Marriage Vows is an enjoyable read. It’s the perfect way to spend your (long) weekend on the couch.



  • Image credit:
  • Cover photo: Bora Subakan
  • Cover design: Michiel Botha




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