EVERYTHING'S BETTER WITH WINE by Suzanne Swinger

EVERYTHING'S BETTER WITH WINE

KIRKUS REVIEW

Swinger’s warm, witty debut novel about a woman’s journey from suburban wife and mother to surgeon and countess.

Thirty-six-year-old Samantha Edwards is a mother of two, a cardiac care nurse and a churchgoing Catholic. Her daily life in Santa Monica is frantic from start to finish. She herds her sons to school while she’s hung over (after nights of “drink[ing] wine like soda”), works her shifts at St. Mary’s Hospital managing doctors’ egos, and spends nights with her husband, Stuart, an inadequate lover and “impulsive spender” whose trust fund has run dry. When renowned heart surgeon Matthew McGuire arrives at St. Mary’s, Samantha sets him up with her best friend, attorney Caroline Chamberlain. This matchmaking doesn’t stop Matt and Samantha from falling in love, but Samantha’s marriage, her faith and an unplanned pregnancy prevent them from becoming a couple. After Matt and Caroline marry, Samantha’s life undergoes two drastic changes: Stuart leaves her for a younger woman, and a hospital benefactor provides her tuition for medical school. At med school Samantha meets Pierrique Vivaldi, a wheelchair-bound French count whom she eventually marries. Matt and Caroline attend the wedding, where it becomes clearer than ever that Matt and Samantha are still in love. Surprising plot twists at the end keep things interesting. The writing is inviting and honest, the sex scenes frank and comical. Although she describes herself as a woman whose “brain was as sharp as a spoon,” Samantha is intelligent. She’s also lovable in spite of her sins, which range from swearing at her sons to sleeping with a married man. Samantha’s hilarious interior monologues and detailed sexual fantasies are the highlights of her story; less interesting are the deliberations over her drinking, which are dull and scientific, linking her affinity for alcohol to a sugar addiction. The conflict over her drinking is a distraction—the narrative has sufficient momentum without it.

A heartfelt tale of two lovers struggling to find the right time and place. 

Pub Date: Dec. 11th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0985425203
Page count: 338pp
Publisher: Leemur Prints LLC
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 2013




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