Genre: women’s fiction / chick lit
"If Singletree’s only florist didn’t deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger."
Lacey Terwilliger’s shock and humiliation over her husband’s philandering prompt her to add some bonus material to Mike’s company newsletter: stunning Technicolor descriptions of the special brand of "administrative support" his receptionist gives him. The detailed mass e-mail to Mike’s family, friends, and clients blows up in her face, and before one can say "instant urban legend," Lacey has become the pariah of her small Kentucky town, a media punch line, and the defendant in Mike’s defamation lawsuit.
Her seemingly perfect life up in flames, Lacey retreats to her family’s lakeside cabin, only to encounter an aggravating neighbor named Monroe. A hunky crime novelist with a low tolerance for drama, Monroe is not thrilled about a newly divorced woman moving in next door. But with time, beer, and a screen door to the nose, a cautious friendship develops into something infinitely more satisfying.
Lacey has to make a decision about her long-term living arrangements, though. Should she take a job writing caustic divorce newsletters for paying clients, or move on with her own life, pursuing more literary aspirations? Can she find happiness with a man who tells her what he thinks and not what she wants to hear? And will she ever be able to resist saying one . . . last . . . thing?
When Lacey finally discovers her husband cheating on her with his floozy of a secretary/receptionist, she has had enough. She keeps up appearances for a while, but he really acts like nothing is happening and all is well with their marriage. Should she turn her head and act like nothing out of the ordinary is happening, like her mother in law has been doing all her life, or will she put an end to her marriage and stand up for herself?
Her husband is an accountant, and Lacey often helps at the office during tax season. She is also solely responsible for putting out a monthly newsletter to their family, friends and clients. Her husband insist on doing it oldfashioned on paper though, instead of through a nice email system, as not to offend his elderly clients who are not computer literate. But this time, Lacey decides enough is enough, and she writes the newsletter she really needs to send out. As soon as she hits the send button though, she feels remorse but also alive. There is no stopping this.
Her mother-in-law is the first to confront Lacey with it. How could she do this to her darling son? Men are like that, surely she knows that? Surely she will beg for his forgiveness? Mike and BeeBee are not happy with being exposed like that, and they cry slander and sue Lacey. Which is fine, as it is the truth after all, and she has enough proof to back it up. Especially now she has hired the best divorce lawyer in town.
Lacey realizes that she does not want the house she has spent her whole marriage decorating and redecorating, she really does not like it at all. And so she takes her few possessions and the few clothes she actually likes wearing, and goes to her parents house. Her parents are on a vacation or something, but her mother gets so many phone calls from concerned friends, that they rush home. Of course her mother is supportive of Lacey, but her father is not, and he is giving her the cold shoulder. After hearing them accidentally talking one night, Lacey decides she has to leave, and goes to her cabin at the lake, which she has inherited from her grandmother. Expecting to be all alone now tourist season is over, she does not bother dressing when going onto her porch. But the house next to hers is rented out to a man she immediately compares to Hugh Jackman, complete with Wolverine sideburns.
Monroe does not like the fact that a newly divorced female is living next door, he has been relentlessly pursued by some in the past, and so he gives her a really cold shoulder. But Lacey could not care less about that, she is really not looking for a new relationship.
Of course, that surprises Monroe, and he starts keeping an eye on her. And one night, while Lacey is skinny dipping in the lake, just relaxing, he thinks she is drowning and tries to rescue her naked body. Lacey is not amused, and tells him exactly what she thinks of that. But it does break the ice a little, and they start some kind of friendship.
By some people, Lacey is ignored or cursed, but there are also lots of people who cheer her on, and admire her for what she had done. Because that email has gone viral of course, and has hit the news big time. And now Lacey gets a job offer she almost cannot resist, in writing cards or such to help out other women who are in the same situation, and who don’t have her snarky writing skills.
Slowly their relationship evolves, and Monroe, who is a writer himself, encourages Lacey to write a book herself. Certainly she sees how wrong it is to start writing newsletters like that for strangers? Doesn’t she see the damage she has done to herself? Lacey does not like this at all, to be told what not to do. And when Monroe pushes for her to acknowledge their strange relationship for what it is, she is just not ready for that. Lacey needs to put her own life on order first, and find out what she wants and what she is good at. She has never worked a day in her life, as she married straight out of college, and Mike did not want her to have a job.
And after a big fight with Monroe, Lacey returns to town, to get some support from her brother Emmett, they have always been good friends, and Mike never liked him. (Mike comes across as a big homophobic!) She has forgiven him for cutting of her hair (again) after making her drunk, but both Emmett and his friends really disagree with Lacey on how she acted with Monroe. Emmett allows Lacey to stay with him for now, but he really needs her help in his shop. He deals with antiques and curiosa, and people who don’t want to go to the trouble of selling online themselves. He is very good at it, but his administration is a huge mess, and that is where Lacey comes in. But of course her staying in town is discovered by one of her mother’s many friends, and Lacey will have to deal with her.
Anna recently blogged about her favourite all time contemporary romances, and this book made the list. As I had it on my shelves, I just had to pick it up and read it. And I am certainly not disappointed in this book. It is really hilarious at times, but I also enjoyed seeing Lacey grow as a person, and find herself again, after years of just being a dutiful wife.
I loved how she did not jump in a relationship with the first available man, but wanted to take care of herself first. She enjoyed her freedom, with no one to tell her what to do and when to do it. Her lawyer wanted her to write a report on her marriage and her reasons for divorce, to show her state of mind, and I think that is a wonderful way to tell a back story. Bit by bit, Lacey discovered herself.
Monroe was a real jerk at first, and when he was ignored, he could not handle it and became curious and involved with Lacey.
I totally agreed with how Lacey reacted to the men in her life, and how she stood up for herself. I am not a big fan of this genre, but Molly Harper pulled it of with just the right amount of humor and snark, without it getting over the top, or too sad.
I won’t spoil the ending of the book for you, but I really, really liked that. Thanks for the recommendation Anna! I will certainly read more Molly Harper books.
© 2014 Reviews by Aurian