IF WISHES WERE HORSES... by Francine Pascal


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 Lopsided, thin, whiny novel about young love in New York City and middle-aged widowhood in the south of France: the second adult offering (Save Johanna!, 1981) from the creator of the Sweet Valley High series. Anna Green is engaged to Steven Buchwald and looking forward to a comfortable if conventional life as a rich New York matron when she meets Nick Devlin, editor of the advertising newspaper where she's just been given her first job. Nick falls in love with her at first sight, but Anna takes a little longer--four weeks, to be exact--but soon she's making torrid love with him, while still going ahead with her plans for her wedding. The story of their courtship, her reluctance to give up the good life with Steven, and her 11th-hour decision to fly to her true love is interspersed with long kvetches about Anna's present life in a villa in France. Now Mrs. Devlin, widowed and the mother of a grown daughter, she is lonely, can't speak the language, and feels at the mercy of hostile or dishonest tradespeople. In the years between her marriage to Nick and the present, she's made something of a fortune for herself writing lyrics to the rock songs of Wicked, a male superstar. But now she can no longer write, preoccupied as she claims to be by her grief and by her disorientation in her new home. She thinks maybe she needs to become sexually active again, if not with a man then with a zucchini--there's a slapstick scene in the local market with her knocking over a barrow full of courgettes in her search for the vegetable of her dreams. The real substance of the story--her life with Nick, her motherhood, his slow death from cancer--is largely a lacuna between Anna's tedious wafflings during their courtship, and her equally tedious complaints about how tough it is to get good help, find a lover, and make friends in the south of France. Hard to believe, even harder to care.

Pub Date: Jan. 17th, 1994
ISBN: 0-517-59682-2
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Crown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 1993