A wife and mother burdened with a painful past and a dull marriage considers an affair in Ostermiller's derivative debut. Sylvia Sandon, a New England landscape painter of declining reputation who now teaches art workshops, has always been haunted by her mother's infidelities, and yet, during a period of frustration with her marriage-dormant sex life, the pressures and stresses of raising two kids-she become smitten with Tai Rosen, the slick New Yorker father of one of her students. Through a tiresome series of flashbacks, Sylvia relives her mother's long-running affair and sanctimonious religiosity, her father's brutality, and the final tragedy that tore the family apart. From this foundation, she tries to keep her own marriage intact and figure out what she wants. Unfortunately, Ostermiller never builds up much reader sympathy for Sylvia, and the depictions of faith, violence, and domestic unhappiness feel naive. (Aug.) Copyright 2010 Reed Business Information.