"My husband had a talent for putting the dick in unpredictable, so I wasn't entirely surprised to catch him at an office party with his hand up the skirt with a giggly, jiggly redhead. Or that he had a mistletoe dangling from his belt buckle. Even though it wasn't Christmas."
I must say, this book caught me right from the first paragraph. If there ever was a book that started as it meant to go on it was this one.
The main character is Sadie who narrates in first person. After discovering Dick with the dangling mistletoe she divorces him and takes a summer holiday with her two kids at her crazy aunt Dody's beachfront home.
In addition to her aunt, Dody's two sons are also in residence -- the level headed Jasper and the flamboyant Fontaine. Two male interlopers who were destroying her vow to have an estrogen only summer. And down the street a sexy new neighbor has caught Sadie's eye.
The most significant thing about this book is that it is really funny, brightly written and incredibly quotable. Sadie's voice reminds me of the heroine of one of those smart, cleverly written sitcoms. She's sarcastic and self- deprecating. And her relationship with her cousins Jasper and Fontaine is comfortable and seems authentically near-sibling like.
The writer also manages to write very visually without being overly descriptive. I can vividly picture Sadie's facial expressions just through her words and actions. Or easily envision the "scene" when as she, Jasper and Fontaine fight stupidly, tease each other and tell embarrassing stories about each other to whomever will listen.
Dody is written as slightly daffy, slightly smart. She is the queen of the malaprop and having a conversation with her is like falling down the rabbit hole. At one point, Sadie likens it to playing whack-a-mole. And this is shown as a very apt description as you follow along in one scene where Dody's intrusive questions to a new neighbor meander are a series on puzzling non-sequiters.
In the beginning I thought Dody's flakiness and Fontaine's flamboyance were a little too over the top. I was afraid they'd overshadow Sadie's story or that they'd be a collection of character tics. But luckily the author reigned them in more tightly as the story progressed and they rounded out as two really great supporting characters who added a lot of flavor and color to the story.
Even though the book is laugh-out-loud in many places, there is also an undertone of pathos with Sadie. Her husband did a major number on her and she has trust issues. He was also a real piece of work and begs the question how the heck did Sadie manage to have any type of a functional marriage to him and birth two children? He was controlling, mean, belittling, a homophobe and also a racist:Richard hated fish. And rice. And Asians. And Mexicans who looked like they might be Asians.
Because of him, every man she sees is probably a cheater. When she first sees Des, the hero of the the story, she has completely sworn off men and yet can't help but notice Des.
Jogging along the water's edge was a man. Quite a man, in fact. Tanned, tall, muscular, and sweaty. The type of man who knew how the sun bounced off the waves and flickered over his gleaming muscles. Vain bastard. He was exactly the kind I wanted to avoid with is long, stupid legs, and his dumb, broad shoulders. He might as well have 'unfaithful' tattooed right on that bulging bicep I couldn't take my eyes off of. Damn.
Through circumstances, largely helped along by Dody and Fontaine, Sadie and Des begin dating. However Sadie still can't let go of her distrust of men. She allows her attitude to seep in and begin poisoning her budding relationship with Des. Their first date at a sushi restaurant is a hysterically funny disaster and it is all due to Sadie's insecurities.
This could have been tiresome but the author makes Sadie's voice so welcoming and humorous that you find yourself commiserating rather than condemning.
For his part Des is a total keeper. He is unfailingly patient with Sadie and yet he calls her on her bullshit and will not allow himself to have to pay for another man's sins.
The story unfolds to a wonderfully satisfying conclusion. I totally enjoyed this book. It hit all the right notes for me for what I like in a contemporary romance. Reminds me strongly of how I felt when I first discovered Kristan Higgins.
Highly Recommended!This book was reviewed based on an ARC received from the Amazon Vine program.