Eclectic Book Club: Ladder of Years

At 40, Delia Grinstead seems more likely to have an attack of anxiety, or of whimsy, than to become a runaway wife. Yet Delia's impulse to escape her disapproving physician husband and three surly children turns into an adventure that sweeps her from her staid Baltimore orbit into a new existence as Ms. Grinstead, spinster, in the Delaware community of Bay Borough. It's the unexamined life that's Delia's problem, and when she finally strips away layers of hurt, resentment, guilt and anger, she confronts her inner self and begins to deal with the chronic insecurity that has kept her childlike, flighty and dependent.