Twice-around-the-block partners can mean double trouble according to a popular British novelist.
Moore (Love at First Site, 2005, etc.) seeks sympathy for her second wives in this lightweight look at modern marriage. What if blonde Julia forced her husband James to leave his first wife Deborah to be with her, or petite beauty Alison set her heart on married father of two Luca when they got stuck in a lift together? Adultery and scheming are not to be held against the four Sex and the City-like heroines who have been cursed with getting what they wanted. Now they must live with the consequences and the baggage. Luca’s first wife uses the children as a weapon against Alison. Fiona, second wife of David, is the hate-object of her sulky adolescent stepson Jake. Blameless Susan, who stepped into the motherhood and then lover breach when her best friend Caitlin dropped dead, must now compete with a perfect ghost for widower Nick’s affections, as well as endure the antagonism of Caitlin’s mother. Over regular lunches, the four women let off steam, plot to overcome their problems and prop each other up. Biological clocks figure significantly too for these 30-somethings: Alison is having problems conceiving; Nick doesn’t want a baby although Susan does; Julia has no urge to procreate at all, but James is desperate for a child. One-liners, shopping and some sex maintain the brittle and predictable tone. Happy endings are available for the non-adulterers; all the desperately flat characters deserve each other.
Hasty and flimsy. There’s little of The First Wives Club’s pizzazz in this disposable beach read.