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A Great Marriage by Frances Mayes

A Great Marriage

Coming 8.13.2024

When a perfect wedding is called off just days before the big event, it sends two people—and their families—reeling, in this poignant novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Under the Tuscan Sun and Women in Sunlight

A great marriage is an elusive thing, and only a few know the secret to making one.

Dara Willcox, in New York for a weekend, meets Austin Clarke at an art gallery. If love at first sight can happen, it happens to them. These two vivid, ambitious people are on different courses—he’s British, working temporarily in New York. She’s from North Carolina, set on law school. They don’t care. They will make their lives together happen. At their April engagement dinner at Dara’s family home, her mother, Lee, sets a beautiful table, and the family and close friends gather to celebrate. Rich, Dara’s father, raises a toast. Suddenly, Lee spills the wine, a brilliant red stain splashing onto the tablecloth and onto Austin.

Days later, Austin hears unsettling news from London that wrecks their plans. Dara abruptly cancels the wedding. She refuses to reveal the reason, not even to her best friends or her parents or grandmother, disrupting their family tradition of openness. As everyone knows, Lee and Rich have a great marriage, and Charlotte, her grandmother, had a colossal one, to the late Senator Mann.  Charlotte literally wrote the book on the subject: She’s the author of international bestsellers on what makes a good or possibly a great marriage. 

While Dara escapes to California and Indigo Island, South Carolina, Austin, back in London, faces a major tragedy, the consequences of which are life-altering. But it’s Lee, Dara’s mother, whose impulsive visit to London alters their fate.

With her signature warmth, humor, and incisive style, beloved author Frances Mayes creates a multigenerational probe into the complexity of love and the great mystery ride of marriage. A novel of casual choices and fateful consequences, A Great Marriage introduces two unforgettable families and the arrival of a stranger who rearranges their futures.

Preorder your copy!


A Place in the World by Frances Mayes

Mayes reflects on the idea of home, from the earliest imprint of four walls to the startling discoveries of feeling the strange ease of homes abroad that spark desires for other lives.

See You in the Piazza by Frances Mayes

Discover the hidden pleasures of Italy in a sumptuous travel narrative that crisscrosses the country, with inventive new recipes celebrating Italian cuisine.

Women in Sunlight by Frances Mayes

The story of four American strangers who bond in Italy and change their lives over the course of an exceptional year.

Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes

A lyrical and evocative memoir from the Bard of Tuscany, about coming of age in the Deep South and the region’s powerful influence on her life.

The Tuscan Sun Cookbook by Frances Mayes, Edward Mayes, Steven Rothfeld

In her first-ever cookbook, Frances and her husband Ed share recipes that they have enjoyed over the years as honorary Tuscans: dishes prepared in a simple, traditional kitchen using robust, honest ingredients.

Every Day in Tuscany by Frances Mayes

Join Frances as she discovers the beauty and simplicity of life in Italy. Includes dozens of delicious seasonal recipes from her traditional kitchen and simple garden.

A Year in the World by Frances Mayes

A celebration of the allure of travel, of serendipitous pleasures found in unlikely locales, of memory woven into the present, and of a joyous sense of quest.

Bringing Tuscany Home by Frances Mayes, Edward Mayes, Frances Mayes

A lavishly illustrated book for everyone who dreams of integrating the Tuscan lifestyle—from home decoration and cooking, to eating and drinking, to gardening, socializing, and celebrating—into their own lives.

Swan by Frances Mayes

In her first novel, Frances creates an intimate world, rich with striking characters and intriguing twists of fate, that hearkens back to her southern roots.

In Tuscany by Frances Mayes, Bob Krist, Edward Mayes

Celebrate the abundant pleasures of life in Italy as it is lived at home, restaurants and markets, in the kitchen, and in the vineyards, fields, and olive groves, with new essays and 200+ color photos.

Bella Tuscany by Frances Mayes

Frances invites readers back to Tuscany for a delightful new season of friendship, festivity, and food. Filled with recipes from her Tuscan kitchen and written in sensuous and evocative prose, Bella Tuscany is a celebration of the sweet life in Italy.

Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes

The #1 New York Times Bestseller | The beloved memoir of self-discovery set against the spectacular Tuscan countryside that inspired the major motion picture starring Diane Lane—now in a twentieth-anniversary edition featuring a new afterword.

cover of Pasta Veloce by Frances Mayes and Susan Wyler

NEW from Frances Mayes

From the famed author of Under the Tuscan Sun, the most delicious Tuscan pasta recipes that can be made in the time it takes to boil water and for the pasta to cook. In Pasta Veloce, Mayes brings that irresistible Italian flavor right to your home with 100 of her favorite pasta recipes. These well-loved recipes blend traditional Italian technique with magic from the Mayes and Wyler home kitchens where experiments are always in progress.

Always Italy by Frances Mayes with Ondine Cohane

Also from Frances Mayes

The world’s favorite expert on la dolce vita guides readers through Italy’s iconic regions amd showcases the best Italy has to offer, from the perspective of two women who have spent their lives reveling in its unique joys. Inspiring and utterly unique, this vivid treasury—replete with more than 350 lavish National Geographic images—is a must-have for anyone who wants to experience the best of Italy.

About Frances Mayes

photo of Frances Mayes

Photo: © Edward Mayes

Frances Mayes is the author of the now-classic Under the Tuscan Sun, which was a New York Times bestseller for more than two and a half years and became a Touchstone movie starring Diane Lane. Other international bestsellers include: Bella Tuscany, Everyday in Tuscany, A Year in the World, and three illustrated books: In Tuscany, Bringing Tuscany Home, and The Tuscan Sun Cookbook. She is also the author of two novels, Swan and Women in Sunlight. She has written six books of poetry and The Discovery of Poetry. The most recent books are See You in the Piazza and Always Italy. Her books have been translated into more than fifty languages.

Current and upcoming eVENTS

Aug 13 2024 (Tue)
Raleigh, NC
Quail Ridge Books
7:00 PM EDT
Aug 14 2024 (Wed)
Greenville, SC
M. Judson Booksellers
12:00 PM EDT
Aug 14 2024 (Wed)
Asheville, NC
Malaprop’s Bookstore
5:30 PM EDT
Aug 15 2024 (Thu)
Charleston, SC
Buxton Books
6:00 PM EDT
Aug 16 2024 (Fri)
Myrtle Beach, SC
Litchfield Books
10:45 AM EDT
Aug 17 2024 (Sat)
Pittsboro, NC
McIntyre’s Books
11:00 AM EDT
Aug 17 2024 (Sat)
Winston-Salem, NC
4:00 PM EDT
Aug 18 2024 (Sun)
Hillsborough, NC
Purple Crow Books
4:00 PM EDT
Aug 19 2024 (Mon)
Greensboro, NC
Scuppernong Books
6:00 PM EDT
Aug 20 2024 (Tue)
Southern Pines, NC
The Country Bookshop
6:00 PM EDT
Aug 22 2024 (Thu)
La Jolla, CA
Warwick’s luncheon
11:45 AM PDT
Aug 22 2024 (Thu)
La Jolla, CA
7:30 PM PDT
Aug 23 2024 (Fri)
Danville, CA
Rakestraw Books
7:00 PM PDT
Aug 24 2024 (Sat)
Corte Madera, CA
Book Passage
11:00 AM PDT

For a Taste of Tuscany

Be sure to visit to learn about Frances Mayes’s olive oil, homemade at Villa Bramasole. You can now order online and receive the Tuscan oil at your home!


For media inquiries please contact Chelsea Woodward, Ballantine Publicity:

Frances Mayes is available for: TV/ Radio Talk Shows, Corporate Book Signings, Special Events, Speaking Engagements, Book Club Title Adoption

For appearance and lecture event queries, please contact Steven Barclay Agency | 12 Western Avenue Petaluma, CA 94952 | TEL: 707-773-0654 | |

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