Slightly overweight Irish 30-something with a glamorous job and her own apartment in Manhattan learns the secrets of success in marriage, along with traditional recipes from her Irish grandmother.
As Prunty’s second novel (Wild Cats and Colleens, 2001) opens, Tressahas finds herself reconsidering her marriage to the super of her Upper West Side apartment building. Dan is handsome (of course), uncomplicatedly nice and madly in love with her, but days after their perfect Catholic wedding, Tressa, a successful cookbook writer and kitchen-design consultant, is already questioning whether he is Mr. Right or merely Mr. Available. Everything about him irritates her. Nevertheless, she grudgingly agrees to move into the house he’s restoring in Yonkers, where she must endure his crass, fried-meat-eating Irish-American family. As they renovate the kitchen together, Tressa’s brittle disdain for much of what Dan represents begins to soften. Still, roadblocks crop up in the form of her sophisticated friends, a couple of her more tempting former lovers and Dan’s devotion to his monosyllabic mother. Although there’s little suspense as to whether this marriage can be saved, readers won’t find much chemistry between Tressa and Dan. Slipped within Tressa’s narration are the recipes of her adored Irish grandmother Bernadine, whom Tressa has always assumed had a perfect marriage. But Bernadine’s memoirs—which Tressa will not read until after her first anniversary—reveal that Bernadine married her gentle husband James without loving him and spent most of her marriage assuming her heart belonged to the American with whom she’d had a passionate adolescent romance that ended when her family would/could not come up with the dowry his mother required. Bernadine is clear-eyed and brutally honest about her shortcomings while she paints James as saintly in his patience.
Grandmother Bernadine is impossible not to love, but the book itself is a blatant marketing retread that lives up to neither Sex and the City nor Bridget Jones.