Nowadays, love and marriage don't necessarily "go together like and a horse and carriage," but you can't blame a girl for hoping. Hoping is exactly what Alison, the disarmingly honest narrator of Sarah Dunn's charmingly honest debut novel, The Big Love has been doing for the last few years. Alison, a mostly lapsed evangelical Christian who doesn't know how to have casual sex casually, is far too intelligent, thoughtful and droll to be characterized as just another chick-lit loudmouth. When her live-in boyfriend leaves her (in the middle of a dinner party) for his old flame, this 30-something, who muses deeply on relationships, religion and questions of the heart, learns that being left-in-the-lurch can be a life and love enhancing experience. Reader Eliza Foss captures Alison's voice and sweet, courageous spirit.

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