Chasing Squirrels in Retrospect by Stephanie Lawless

Chasing Squirrels in Retrospect

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Lawless delivers a debut novel about a 20-something fundraising professional dealing with upheavals in her personal life.

Georgia Leonard, who lives in the English village of Lymm, is fairly satisfied with her life: her fundraising job is generally pleasant, despite the occasional nut cases she encounters, such as an office manager who “wanted to know what I was up to at all times.” She’s genuinely fond of her family, although her parents and brother are on the other side of the Atlantic and her sister’s a few hours away. She also has devoted friends; an adored, if incontinent, elderly dog; and a wacky, elderly great-aunt, Auntie D. The only real sticking point is her lack of a love life since she caught her ex-boyfriend, Peter, cheating on her. The only man with whom she feels a real connection is Blake, the boyfriend of her friend’s cousin, whom she sees every few years. Loathe to be the “other woman,” she keeps her encounters with Blake deliberately lighthearted and innocuous, despite their strong mutual attraction. When she notices some curious inconsistencies in her great-aunt’s finances, she learns more about bank fraud than she ever believed possible. A heartbreaking loss, soon followed by a less-shocking misfortune, compels Georgia to reevaluate her life and to seek positive changes. This novel is apparently inspired by the chick-lit genre, but it’s heavier on humor and lighter on drinking and promiscuity. Georgia’s story, told in the first person, is almost always humorous, except when circumstances turn heartbreaking. Interspersed throughout the story are the responses that she receives from a dating website, showing the ludicrous inappropriateness of most of her potential matches. Her real affection for her Auntie D is heartwarming and makes her character even more likable. The cliffhanger ending—hopefully a setup for a sequel—will leave readers wondering whether Georgia will do the honorable thing, as she often does at other times.

An amusing offering, full of memorable characters.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-5027-5364-9
Page count: 324pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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