By Cathy Lamb
Well, I generally like these “girl gets away from her jerk boyfriend/husband and learns to love herself and life” books and this novel makes sure it hits all the bases. Cancer, wacky girl nights where they get their estrogen flowing and appreciate their female body parts, abusive husbands and fiancés along with abused children. It was silly and fun and enjoyable, but dang was it pushy and it tackles some difficult issues. It is also a little clichéd and predictable. But occasionally, it is pretty fun to take that type of ride.
This novel focuses on Julia, who leaves her horrible fiancé on their wedding day and escapes to Oregon to live with her aunt. Julia had a rotten childhood and ended up in an abusive relationship, thinking that would be the best she could ever do. Once with her Aunt Lydia, she meets three other women who have their issues as well, and the five become wonderful friends.
The plot is similar to Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic or Sarah Addison Allen’s Garden Spells, except the town is supportive of these women, not fearful and each of the friends has their storyline where they face and conquer their fears. It made me cry, but I think we have already established that I am a sap…so I don’t know if everyone will be puffy-eyed after reading this or not. Also, it is a little heavy-handed and repetitive at times. But it was enjoyable and a nice break from all the urban fantasy I have been reading. I enjoyed kooky Aunt Lydia and wish I had a psychic friend or had a much talent as each of the ladies in the book. Also, I don’t know about the believability of the men in the book, but they are there to be what is needed for the story I guess. Basically, I guess what I am trying to say is that you could easily pick this book apart. But if you want something that makes you laugh, cry, grimace in horror and end happily, this is for you. It would be a good beach read though I read it during a rainstorm while I was baking. (It was all that talk of chocolate!) I give the book 3 stars.