Monday, October 8, 2012

Book Review and Giveaway: Wellesley Wives

By Jami Deise

**Giveaway is now closed**

Along with my bookworm tendencies, I am a huge TV addict. And from the 1980s onward, I was and am entertained by TV families with the last names of Carrington, Ewing, Quartermaine, Chandler, Grayson, Cortlandt, Buchanan, Cory and Darling. The rich really aren’t like you and me. And if you were a fan of Dallas, Dynasty, General Hospital, or All My Children, you learned that on a weekly basis. How many people fight their siblings for an oil company or their grandfather’s trust fund? How many cosseted young girls get married on the grounds of a huge estate, arriving in a horse drawn carriage? If you enjoyed these shows and those families as much as I did, then Suzy Duffy’s novel “Wellesley Wives” is the book for you.
Popsy Power is celebrating her 50th birthday in style with a gift from her husband Peter – a bright red Ferrari worth $250,000. Popsy really seems to have it all: A rich husband, two successful grown daughters – Rosie and Lily – an adorable granddaughter Natasha, and a loyal best friend, Sandra. Sandra is married to Peter’s business partner, Jack, who is close enough to the family that her girls call him “Uncle Jack.” Her life is filled with shopping, lunches, visiting Natasha, and other amusements. On the day of Popsy’s birthday party, it all comes crashing down. Jack and Peter’s company goes bankrupt, and both families could lose everything. Then there’s an innocent slip by Natasha, and suddenly it’s revealed that Jack and Lily have been having an affair. The news is too much for Peter, who collapses in a heart attack.

“Wellesley Wives” was not the book I expected. Most books about rich people are written from an outsider’s point of view, and the wealthy characters aren’t presented in the best light. When this book opens, with Popsy getting her new Ferrari, I fully expected to hate her and thought the author would be satirizing her and her lifestyle. In fact, Popsy is a warm, nurturing character who loves her family and friends, and her wealth is only a small part of who she is.

The book is written from the point of view of each of the female main characters: Popsy, Rosie, Lily and Sandra all narrate alternating chapters. Each of these women are caught in soap operas of their own: Rosie’s husband is pressuring her to take a swinger’s vacation; Lily is having an affair with her father’s best friend; Sandra wants desperately to have a baby with her increasingly distant husband. While all four women are three dimensional and fully relatable, Sandra is the character who really pops. As Jack’s second wife, she’s spoiled but strong enough that she can help Popsy through her crisis even though Popsy’s daughter is her husband’s mistress. She refuses to let Popsy wallow in their emotional and financial crises, taking her on a vacation to Ireland and forcing her best friend to rejoin the world.

On the other hand, the men in the book aren’t nearly as fully formed. Peter seems loving and generous, but has taken enormous risks with his family’s well-being. Rosie’s husband, Marcus, comes across as a pig, and Jack is exactly what one would expect of a man who cheats on his wife with his best friend’s daughter. The scenes between Jack and Lily I found particularly trying, as I could not understand what Lily could possibly see in the man.

“Wellesley Wives” is good, juicy soap opera fun. My only quibble is that the book blurb refers to it as “romantic comedy.” While there are a few funny scenes and lines, this book is not a comedy. It’s a soap opera. And any reader picking it up expecting Bridget Jones in the Hamptons is going to be disappointed. On the other hand, author Suzy Duffy hails from Ireland, and perhaps the Irish have a different sense of humor than Americans.

Thanks to The Writer's Coffee Shop for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. They're partnered with Smith Publicity, who has TWO paperbacks for some lucky readers anywhere in the world!

How to win "Wellesley Wives": 
Please tell us your favorite daytime or nighttime soap opera. (One entry per person.) Please include your e-mail address or another way to reach you if you win. Entries without contact information will NOT be counted.

Giveaway ends October 14th at midnight EST.

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EFC Chrissy said...

I don't have a favorite soap opera...during the day, the kids usually commandeer the tv. During the night, we catch up on shows like Parenthood (love it!) or Top Chef (which will be starting soon and is another fave....which, being a reality show, you could say is a soap opera)

Unknown said...

Great Review, the book sounds awesome.

My favorite soap opera has always, and will always be Dallas! I am loving the reboot, too!

I follow, like & Tweeted:)


Heidi B said...

Neighbours! I loved all the drama, betrayl, friendship etc.


Linda Kish said...

My favorite was All My Children

I am a GFC follower

lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Maureen said...

I watch Revenge which is like a nighttime soap opera.
mce1011 AT aol DOT com

Sherry said...

I am enjoying the new night time soap Scandal.

scylla777 @ gmail dot com

Janine K said...

My favorite soap opera of all time would have to be Knots Landing! I so wish they would bring the rest of the seasons out on DVD.

Mrs Mommy Booknerd said...

I have, and still, love DAYS IF OUR LIVES!

Mrsmommybooknerdsbookreviews at gmail dot com

Stephanie said...

I love Revenge!

gfc follower

holdenj said...

Looks like a great book! My favorite one from back in the day was Falcon Crest. Used to watch it with my mom.

susieqlaw said...

The Young and the Restless

Sendsusanmail AT gmail DOTCOM

Mary Preston said...

THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL airs just before the evening news here. So we watch the tail end each night. There is always someone crying. We love our evening bit of soap.

GFC: Mary Preston


Literary Chanteuse said...

I used to love Flamingo Road. Going back a few years, lol!


Anita Yancey said...

My favorite soap opera is General Hospital.


Margay Leah Justice said...

The only one I watch - General Hospital.


Jessica said...

General Hospital! Love it so much!

-Jessica M

bn100 said...

I like Dallas.


Bridget O'Neill said...

Before it was cancelled :(, I loved Guiding Light!

Nova said...

Favorite Soap Opera is GENERAL HOSPITAL.
i follow CLC blog by email
I liked CLC on facebook

StereoQueenBee said...

I guess I would have to say Gossip Girl, even though I find it kind of ridiculous at times. But since it is the last season, I can't quit now!

Jeryl M. said...

I don't watch any soaps, but I used to like General Hospital.

I am a subscriber.

I am a Facebook follower.

Jilleen said...

Back in the day when I was young and a student, I loved Young and the Restless. My favorite past night soap opera was Knots Landing. My current favorite night soap opera, no doubt.....Revenge! Still wish they would release all the other seasons on DVD - currently just season 1.

seasidebooknook at yahoo

Dolly said...

I'm a fan of the new show 'Scandal'! Back in the day, I loved 'Melrose Place'. I never realy had time for the daytime soaps, I was either in school or worked.

I'm a FB and GFC follower.

jcsites2002 at hotmail dot com

rhonda said...

loved All my Children erica

eclairre said...

General hospital! eclairre(at)ymail(dot)com

Sarka-Jonae Miller said...

I used to watch All My Children, but if Revenge can be considered a soap, then that is definitely my fav.

betweenboyfriendsnovel at gmail dot com

Melissa said...

Thanks for sharing your favorite soap operas with us. Such a fun variety. I consider Desperate Housewives to be on the soapy side and that was my favorite nighttime one for a while. :) I also watched Days of our Lives in college. chose two winners from all entries with contact info (one per person).

Congrats to Jilleen and Stephanie (Skk25)!

Thanks to Smith Publicity for sharing the books with our winners!