The cover of Happiness Sold Separately.
About Happiness Sold Separately
When Elinor Mackey learns that she can't have children, she plunges into a solitary world of heartbreak and despair, shutting out her husband, Ted. Soon Ted meets and falls for the wrong woman at the wrong time and does the wrong thing, and he must fight to make everything right again. Can this marriage be saved? The answer is fresh and unexpected in this bittersweet suburban tale.

To read Chapter One, click here.

Advance Praise

“Funny and human and altogether engaging, HAPPINESS SOLD SEPARATELY is a pleasure to read. Lolly Winston has such a light touch that it's easy to forget just how intense this book really is. In her delicate excavation of a marriage, don't be surprised if you find yourself laughing at one moment, your heart caught in your throat the next.”
  —Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

Kirkus Review, starred review

A deceptively breezy, thoughtful look at the emotional complexities of a childless suburban California marriage. Lawyer Elinor Mackey's discovery that husband Ted, a podiatrist, is having an affair with his gym trainer, Gina, just scratches the surface of troublesome issues in the Mackey's relationship. Forty-year-old Elinor has been trying to have a baby, enduring exhausting hormone injections and a miscarriage; Ted has stood by her stoically, even tenderly, though their sex life is shot. Immersed in her work as a top-notch international employee-relations lawyer in Silicon Valley, Elinor is addicted to writing lists and sorting the laundry, leaving little room for romance or even dinner with her husband. Ted wonders why she's not fun anymore and readily succumbs to Gina's seduction. Winston doesn't wrestle much with the moral questions raised by a middle-aged man falling for his trainer, nor does she offer any facile condemnation of one party or the other, delighting instead in complicating the plot at every turn. Just as the Mackeys separate and seem to be making headway in therapy, Gina's emotionally needy ten-year-old son Toby (and who knew she had a son?) decides that Ted is going to be the father figure in his life. Ted begins to tutor Toby, perhaps out of guilt, and then starts sleeping with Gina again. She remains wary, having been damaged and left vulnerable by various men in her life. Ted's initial feeling for her morphs from pity into (possibly) real love, while Elinor, more emotionally detached, attracts the local tree surgeon as well as the young man who comes to clean her house. And yet Ted loves El and only wants to be with her (doesn't he?). Pregnancy —at last!— cannot save this doomed marriage, as Elinor laments, ‘It's not about having a baby, it's about having a family.’ The author allows her characters to seethe, stumble and emerge fully human. Winston (Good Grief, 2004) skillfully comes into her own with this brave second novel.

Library Journal, starred review

“Corporate laywer Elinor Mackey, now 40, wonders why she didn't try to have kids earlier. She and podiatrist husband Ted have only been married three years, but children, despite repeated IVF treatments, seem to be elusive. She funnels her sadness and fears into doing laundry. He responds to her withdrawal with frustration and by going to the gym, where he meets and eventually beds fitness instructor Gina. Elinor discovers the affair early on in this sophomore effort from Winston (Good Grief). It's where the couple go from there that captivates and engages the reader. The Mackeys even try to recover, but Gina's beligerent ten-year-old son, Toby, meets Ted and wants him for his math tutor. Ted loves his wife, but he can't stop thinking about having sex with Gina. Where does this leave Elinor? Finding solace under the diseased oak on her front lawn. ‘Ted's dating a ten-year-old,’ she says to neighbor Kat. ‘Fine. I'm dating a tree.’ Elinor, Ted, and Gina are well-drawn characters whose responses are intensely felt and perversely funny in Winston's bittersweet evocation of life's possibilities and disappointments and the slippery slope of being in love. Her unanticipated but still optimistic solution will resonate with readers. Highly recommended.