Author: Jane Moore
Read for: 2011 Chick Lit Challenge
At age thirty-three, Josephine Miles is forced to come up with a brand-new life when her husband leaves her for “the cliche”–his very young, very pretty secretary. Suddenly she’s single and back in the dating game with the added complication of children in tow. But Jo’s no wallflower, and she soon finds herself with not one but four eligible bachelors vying for her time and affections. Add her two kids and her now booming interior design business to the mix, and she winds up with a nightmarish schedule but a dreamy love life.
So who are the contestants? There’s Sean, the sexy foreign affairs correspondent who sweeps Jo off her feet and proves to be masterful in bed; Martin, the music industry mogul who offers luxury, stability, and a glamorous lifestyle; and Conor, Jo’s trusted confidant, who knows just what to say to make her smile (why hadn’t she noticed his irresistible smile until now?). Then there’s Jeff, her ex-husband: she wouldn’t consider hooking up with him again, would she? It could happen–especially when Jeff’s romance with the sweet young thing sours and he launches a full-scale campaign to win Jo back. (goodreads.com)
The book starts off slow, but after the first fifty to hundred pages, it really gets going. Jo really seems torn between her choices, although Conor doesn’t play into the choices as much as the blurb lets on, since after he admits his attraction to Jo, he hardly appears. Instead, Jo is more focused on Sean and Martin, then Jeff, before we finally come back around to Conor. The book moves slowly through Jo’s ending marriage and journey of finding love again, and Jo is constantly side-tracked by dinner parties, her children, her always-late brother, holidays, and a death in the family.
Eventually, Jo starts to make decisions about her “contestants”. It is interesting to watch how she is torn between saying no and saying yes, and she even fights with herself over whether to get back together with Jeff, even though he lied to her, cheated on her, and left her and the children for a younger woman. Jo is obviously a caring woman, capable of criticism and approval. Her best friend, Rosie, tries to be the voice of reason as Jo searches through her prospects, but Jo chooses to ignore her, although she is very much capable of admitting Rosie is right.
Although the book moves slowly, it skips over several weeks and months in Jo’s life. It glosses over Jo’s divorce proceedings, instead only mentioning them in passing. We spend very little time watching Jo fall apart over her separation and subsequent divorce with Jeff; she grieves, and, although she is bitter at first, she comes around to be the better person in the relationship.
Jo is a remarkably likable person, and it was very enjoyable watching her grow and change over the eighteen months or so of her life that we see. She is bitter and angry at first, but as we see more of her she becomes a nice person who cares more about the people in her life than she sometimes does about herself.
I sometimes got frustrated with her, because Jo is indecisive. She can’t decide whether to take Jeff back, or take Martin up on his offer. It takes a long time for her to decide what she really wants, and she is constantly bombarded with choices, which doesn’t help. When she finally makes a decision, it is a relief. Not because of who she chooses, but because she chooses at all. So much of this novel is spent with Jo hanging in limbo that it becomes frustrating.
If you’re looking for a slow read with lots of indecisiveness and very few sex scenes, pick this up.
Originally posted 05 January 2011.