British author Green (The Beach House, 2008, etc.) has moved from England to Connecticut, and her novel’s heroines have fallen suit.
Exit the chippy London career girl looking for love and a sample sale, enter the New England mother questioning whether there is a bit more to life than the requisite diamond-stud earrings and showcase country house. This is what Kit wondered before she divorced Adam, but now two years later, she is finally fulfilled. The mansion, and the prestige of being married to one of Wall Street’s players, is gone. Still, in Highfield (think Greenwich), the mansion has been replaced with a charming house a few blocks from Main Street, and she now has an eccentric and perfectly indispensable new neighbor in octogenarian Edie. Best yet, she has a great job as personal assistant to Robert McClore (think Tom Clancy). The kids have adjusted, her friends Charlie and Tracy are lovely. In fact, everything is terrific. Until it isn’t. There are clouds on the horizon: America’s financial crisis is about to hit this community hard; Tracy begins to woo Robert (his first wife, a wild-child model, died in a boating accident—or was it?— in the swinging ’70s); and Annabel, a British half-sister Kit has just found out about, shows up. Green’s novel begins lightly and then shifts gears, producing a kind of thriller-lite effect. A few key players have some nasty intentions, and Kit has to sort it all out. Meanwhile, she is trying to decide if her new romantic interest (the dishy Steve, who is literally too good to be true) can compare with Adam, whom she is beginning to think she still loves. Green has some good fun with the shallow lifestyles of the ladies who lunch, and by the end the greedy are punished and the good (that would be Kit) prevail.
The competing styles—chatty friendships, shopping, middle-aged enlightenment and crime/suspense—make for a disjointed read.