THE REAL LIDDY JAMES by Anne-Marie Casey


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A powerful divorce attorney, Liddy James races through life under a shiny veneer of confidence that covers her loneliness and insecurity.

Liddy was living a five-star existence in New York City with her son, Matty, and husband, Peter, until her once-happy marriage hit a roadblock and a rare spontaneous move on her part brought it to a close. She accepted the divorce with equanimity and now aims to coexist peaceably with her angry, vindictive ex and his girlfriend, Rose, as they co-parent teenage Matty. Now 40-something and known for her Liddy-ishness—a combination of cool, calm, collectedness—she juggles too many balls and watches in dismay as they pelt to the ground in an embarrassing public episode. When her story begins trending on social media, she flees for a summer abroad in the Irish countryside where she’d grown up (and which she'd once been so determined to leave). Her retreat is not without its problems, but Liddy finds her roots and begins the journey to heal her spirit. Casey (No One Could Have Guessed the Weather, 2013) paces the story slowly at first, then more and more briskly as Liddy crumbles. She reveals back story by gently pressing missing puzzle pieces into place. It’s an energetic novel; Liddy’s self-deprecating humor makes for chuckles in even the toughest situations. And while Liddy is clearly the protagonist, other characters have interesting triumphs and tribulations as well. There will be lots of opportunities to guess where this tale is leading, but readers who think they can foretell the ending early on shouldn’t get too cocky. Casey is smarter than that, and roads that seem to meander to the obvious destination don't necessarily end there.

Liddy is a memorable character who could easily appear again as The New and Improved Liddy James in Casey’s next novel. Let’s hope so.

Pub Date: Sept. 20th, 2016
ISBN: 978-0-399-16022-6
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Putnam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2016


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