KAREN -female protagonist
The story starts with Karen, now 58, reflecting on an earlier part of her life when she was 18 and fell in love with John, her first love.
At that time, Karen is an average 18 year-old, dark haired, reasonably attractive although no beauty, basically a happy person.
As the story progresses, Karen shows herself to be fairly easy-going but at the same time a person who tends to think deeply about life and the people she meets along life's path.
JOHN - Karen's first love
John is 18 years of age and he and Karen begin dating and develop a relationship which is comfortable and at times exciting. John is from a wealthy family and although he is academically clever, as well as quite good looking, he is somewhat shallow.
John's mother is a dominant force in his life and he has to stand up to her in the early days of his relationship with Karen.
MARTIN - who becomes Karen's husband
Martin and his brother Tim have always been close and shared an apartment in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney up until Tim got married. Martin continued to live alone in the apartment before he met and married Karen. Although he had never been particularly interested in women, never thought about getting married or having children, all that changed the moment he met Karen. It was love at first sight for Martin and he pursued her until she agreed to marry him.
His entire life has been spent working for the Australian Tax Office and playing some type of sport in his spare time. He is a good looking man, tall and always well dressed, but due mainly to a very spoilt upbringing, he is extremely self-centered and can be demanding and abrasive.
LOU - Business colleague and good friend to Karen
Lou is one of the country's leading chefs but over time becomes disillusioned with the frenetic pace of working in busy restaurant kitchens and takes a job selling fine quality kitchen knives. It is in this capacity that he meets Karen and they become business colleagues and develop a lasting friendship.
A handsome and urbane man, he is happily married to Carole, his childhood sweetheart, but this situation changes and he leaves the city to take up a new life in a large regional town. There he meets a new love but the relationship is short-lived and once again Lou finds himself alone.
But you'll have to read the book to discover how these characters interact with each other - and the other personalities which make up the cast of this story.