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Right before Sarah Stagg's teenage sons leave the nest, her husband, Andrew, the star of their local dramatic club, leaves her for his twentysomething leading lady, Hyacinth. Sarah, a freelance artist, quickly discovers that the path of a discarded wife is strewn with hazards and humiliations. Her neighbors and friends treat her like she has the plague. And her soon-to-be-ex wants to sell the house she's spent years turning into her dream home.
Her best friend Miriam offers one concrete piece of advice: Sarah should keep busy -- and with Andrew and Hyacinth on a sabbatical from their acting group, what better distraction than the theater? To Sarah's horror, she is promptly given the starring role intended for Hyacinth. She wonders if she should write a survival guide for ex-wives. Her first chapter could be titled ''How to Invite Utter Humiliation to Your Life in Front of an Entire Town and Watch Your Heartbreak Magically Melt Away.'' Then Sarah runs into the biggest crush of her youth. Now Sarah has more -- better -- advice to add to the list: Confront your past. Revel in the present. Be open to romance. But despite her new love interest, Sarah wonders if she's actually dealing or just having fun dreaming up sage words for women scorned. Will she ever truly understand what it means to live wisely and independently?