Former McCall’s editor-in-chief Koslow (Slouching toward Adulthood, 2012, etc.) choreographs an entertaining but lightweight story about a mother and two daughters who are suddenly forced to redefine their lives and relationships step by step.
Georgia Silver-Waltz becomes a 50-year-old widow when husband Ben suffers a fatal heart attack while preparing for the New York marathon. Thanks to Ben’s lucrative law practice, Georgia’s lived a pampered life, and the couple has always indulged their two daughters. Nicola, aka Cola, Korean-born, was adopted as a baby. She’s drifted from one interest to another without much to show for it, but she can slice and dice with the best of them thanks to a stint learning a few culinary skills in Paris. Louisa, or Luey, was born to Ben and Georgia a year after Cola was adopted. She’s rebellious, brilliant and often resents her older sister. But when mother and daughters find themselves virtually penniless—at least as far as upper-class New Yorkers are concerned—they come together, not always harmoniously, and do what they have to do to survive: sell their apartment, put the family’s East Hampton beach house on the market, auction off valuables on eBay and—gasp!—get real jobs. Georgia edits essays for students applying to college; Cola accepts a position working at her uncle’s exclusive jewelry store; and enterprising Luey starts a business as a dog walker/sitter. As the family’s dynamics change, each woman discovers her own special strengths and develops stronger bonds with the others. Georgia, determined to investigate Ben’s actions and uncover what happened to their holdings, works to hold together the family and support her daughters’ decisions, Luey’s in particular. And when the money trail finally unravels—no surprise to readers since the plot is pretty transparent—Georgia resolves issues about her own future.
Koslow knows how to please her target audience; although there are a few missteps, particularly toward the end when the resolution seems hard to swallow, the perfectly frothy, romantic story will appeal to readers who want a few hours to engage in a different world.