Despite having read a few reviews, I went into it with no real notion of what it was about. In a nutshell, it is about divorce and what that does to families. Two families, the Cousins and the Keatings both live in Los Angeles in the 1960s, and when Bert Cousins crashes a christening party at the Keating house, he changes the course of the lives of everyone in both households.
The really interesting part is that one of the characters, Franny Keating, tells her novelist lover about her childhood and how her family and the Cousins became entangled, and he turns that into an award-winning novel, called Commonwealth. I do like the meta twist to the story and I think it adds an interesting layer to the concepts of family history, privacy, and relationships that Patchett explores in her novel.
I love the cover, by the way, with the oranges that are so much a part of the opening of the story. Made me long for a citrus tree of my own.