Saturday, April 25, 2020

Last Couple Standing

Four Baltimore couples who have been best friends since college find their lives turned upside down as they hit their forties. Now in the burbs, with kids, mortgages and typical mid life sagging, one by one they divorce. The last couple intact are Jessica and Mitch. Jessica is an attractive, insightful therapist and Mitch teaches high school English. With two adorable kids and a comedic rapport they decide to ward off the contagious D word and spice up their marriage with a twist. They decide a relaxed marriage would do the trick and are each allowed a sexual encounter outside the marriage, think free pass. Quickly their little experiment turns to disaster when simple things like jealousy, truth and family get in the way. Love the title and the cover but this romcom could have been so much more than a silly wrap that began about 1/2 way through. Any lessons, even funny ones were lost in the random shuffle. Not my best as far as romcoms go.

Big Summer

Daphne Berg is a young woman trying to make it in NYC. She juggles a nanny gig while building her Instagram name and plus-size community. Snapping glam pics of her fashionable outfits while having real life experiences, Daphne is quickly impressing sponsors while displaying their products. Unexpectedly Daphne’s onetime high school best friend and current nemesis Drue Cavanaugh reappears. It’s been six years since that awful night in a popular Manhattan bar destroyed what was already a decidedly unbalanced relationship. The wealthy, beautiful, perfect Drue is getting married and would like Daphne, her oldest and truest friend, to be a bridesmaid. As unlikely as this all sounds Daphne decides the possibility of rekindling their friendship and meeting a cute guy at the wedding is too good to pass. The extravaganza is to take place on Cape Cod and what is meant to be the wedding of the year becomes the disaster of the century. Always a fan of Jennifer Weiner, her romcoms never fail to entertain. Cute to the point of silly, the amusing characters and mocking of our collective online vanity kept me laughing out loud. Great for the beach this summer, that is of course if they decide to let us in.

Monday, April 20, 2020

Summer Darlings

It is the summer of 1962 and Heddy Winsome, a Wellesley girl is working as a nanny on the exclusive island of Martha’s Vineyard. Raised in Brooklyn by an Irish immigrant single mother, Heddy has worked night and day to attain a scholarship and get herself to college. Desperate for stability and a brighter future, Heddy leaps at the chance to spend the summer amongst socialites while searching for the final piece to the puzzle, a husband. Sweet and pretty with a shy demeanor, Heddy has no trouble turning heads and winning the favor of her employers. As her heart is torn between two very different men, Heddy witnesses the extraordinarily flawed world of the rich and privileged. Excellent character description in an idyllic setting, it is unfortunate that the build up for 75% of this novel leads to a rushed and implausible finale.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

The Heir Affair

Bex Porter and Prince Nicholas, heir to the throne, finally make it to the altar. As the adorable couple ultimately survived their rocky road to matrimony, they are devastated after the ceremony when a friend turned paparazzi publicizes a scandal they can not escape. After they spend their first newlywed months hiding out in the countryside, the happy couple returns to face the music and try to regain the Queen’s favor. The ups and downs of their rollercoaster life gently mimics royals we see on the news and the emotions many young couples experience. I waited five years for this sequel after devouring The Royal We, unfortunately it dragged for me and the characters felt completely contrived. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

My Dark Vanessa

17 years ago Vanessa Wye, a shy young girl received a scholarship to attend a fancy boarding school in New England. Extremely self conscious, as most young girls can be, Vanessa has trouble making friends and rarely speaks up in class. When her English teacher Jacob Strane praises her poetry and physical beauty Vanessa quietly revels in his attention. Twenty seven years her senior, Professor Strane should know better than to cross lines that are clearly marked but Vanessa believes this is true love. At 32 Vanessa still struggles with love, relationships, intimacy and the memories of Jacob. As she begins therapy to face her father’s death, the past collides with her present and Vanessa must first find the truth in order to face it. This book is dark, at times hard to read. My Dark Vanessa is a very well written, thought provoking novel of a troubled girl learning about friendship, first love, rejection and the life long affects that each decision can bring. Highly recommend this intimate, psychological novel that is literally unputdownable.