A subversively charming debut about a group of happily imperfect New Yorkers from Dublin-based Casey, wife of novelist Joseph O'Connor.
The novel is bookended by Lucy’s story: After the financial crash, Lucy, Richard and their two small boys are forced out of their posh London lives and move to Manhattan, where Richard makes due at a reduced salary, and they take over the apartment he kept for business. Lucy learns she’s much nicer away from all the haves, and she discovers she’s actually in love with her very kind husband. Lucy’s new friend Julia, meanwhile, has a dilemma: Can she, a high-powered screenwriter, go on with a flaky yoga instructor? She thinks not, and so, shockingly, she leaves her husband, Kristian, and their children and has a little nervous breakdown, followed by a lot of career advancement. Meanwhile, Julia’s best friend Christy (her husband, Vaughn, is a rich and powerful senior citizen) is learning, after the nanny’s abrupt departure, that she likes taking care of her twin girls—especially when the dashing, fun-loving Irish doorman is with them. When Christy’s 40-year-old stepdaughter Lianne insists Christy accompany her to an “equine assisted learning” retreat, Christy invites Julia, who invites Lucy (Christy is a bit jealous of this), and then Robyn finds her way in (although she’s already part of the group in a way, having had affairs with both Vaughn and Kristian). The trip is a disaster for spoiled Lianne, but Robyn decides she’s had it with Ryan, whose promising literary debut has been followed by years of Robyn slaving away at a mattress showroom for his art. Each chapter feels like a well-composed short story, and the collected whole is fresh and bright with characters that defy expectations.
Clever and witty: the best kind of summer book.