After fairy-tale weddings, three estranged girlfriends reunite to pick up the pieces of their broken happily-ever-afters.
Seven years after Jane announced to her dumbstruck best friends, Meg and Cara, that she had spontaneously married Doug Logan, a successful wealth manager, her life is in shambles. It turns out that Doug has been bamboozling his clients, and now the feds are after him. Led off in handcuffs, he leaves Jane to face frozen bank accounts, angry neighbors, and the paparazzi. Even though Meg and Cara had pretty much written reckless Jane out of their own happily and conventionally married lives, Jane decides to reconnect. Yet Meg’s and Cara’s lives have careened as well. Beneath the facade of her perfect marriage, Cara suffers in silence as Reed humiliates her daily, breaking down her self-esteem. After multiple miscarriages, Meg has left her husband, Steve, telling him it’s for his own good that they separate. She’s taken refuge at their Montauk cottage, baking away her miseries in solitude, until Jane convinces Cara to run away and they end up at Meg’s door, ready to heal their friendship and repair their fragmented love lives. Duffy’s (On the Rocks, 2014) somewhat clichéd tale is saved by genuinely funny dialogue—especially Jane’s. Distinctively, sometimes viciously wry, Jane’s words deftly transform her criminal husband from a Prince-Charming-gone-south into a common, stock felon out of central casting. Like all the husbands, Doug is practically erased from Jane’s life—and Duffy’s novel—the moment he collapses in tears at Jane’s feet; Steve simply waits, inexplicably patiently, for Meg to return; Reed plays the emotionally abusive villain. Meg’s friend Nick also suffers, reduced to the stereotypical gay friend. Luckily, he is also roped into felonious shenanigans designed to set the women on track for more independent denouements.
A rollicking beach read, but it won’t endure close scrutiny.