**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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