Preston’s insightful and deliciously funny second novel (after Jackie by Josie, 1997) features a memorable protagonist, the creator of a bestselling computer game, who finds herself ignored by her family and decides to fight back.
Lucy Crocker has felt adrift ever since her recent miscarriage, and she can’t muster the energy to complete a sequel to the popular game, “Maiden's Quest,” that made her husband Ed’s software company rich. Meanwhile, Lucy’s twin sons, 13-yearold Phillip and Benjy, are preoccupied with their own computer business, and Ed seems distracted while Lucy does little more than sleep a lot and daydream about the past. Then Ed fires her, she catches the twins watching porn on the Internet, and she learns that Ingrid, the company’s comely p.r. director, is giving her husband erotic massages. Lucy’s dander is up, and, like the heroine of “Maiden’s Quest,” she takes matters into her own hands. She drives the protesting twins, typical computer geeks, to Camp Kinahwee in Wisconsin’s northern woods, where she herself was once the most outstanding female camper, and then heads to her family’s cottage on a remote lake. The penitent Ed, meanwhile, missing Lucy and his sons, sets out looking for them; the twins embark on a long canoe trip; and Lucy begins illustrating her father’s tales of the north, as well as dallying with her first love, Sam. In the following weeks, all of the Crockers themselves are tested like characters on a quest. Lucy witnesses a crime, Ed learns to row, the twins’ canoe is overturned in a storm. All, however, survive their moral and physical challenges to become wiser, stronger, and ready for new ventures.
Another winner from a writer who, like Lucy Crocker, does many wonderful and clever things with consummate grace and wit. (BookoftheMonth Club/Quality Paperback Club alternate selection)