I bought this book for $1 and when it was chosen for February's book club book, I was quite surprised. It certainly was not the romantic, funny, chick lit book that I think we all expected it to be. It had surprisingly little actual romance, and what romance there was did not seem worth rooting for. Tessa King was not overly likable. She made bad decisions (again and again); her love interests were not interesting and most of all, for a character who was supposed to be 35, I know 15-year-olds who are more mature. Her entire job situation struck me as utterly ridiculous as well... Some of the minor characters had interesting storylines, but not many of them came to clear resolutions, either. In the end, I was entertained, but frustrated since not many strands of plot seemed concluded. I am curious about the sequel, just to see if anything else is wrapped up.
Tessa King is a 30-something single woman who has just returned to London after a hiatus in India. Her reason for the escape was to recover from an unfortunate stalking incident involved her married ex-boss. Tessa is returning home, jobless, to a life crowded with 30-something friends and their children. With countless best friends and many godchildren, Tessa prides herself on being the friend/godmother who is "there" in times of need or crisis, often neglecting her own endeavors as a result. When tragedy befalls Tessa and her tight-knit circle, she begins to reevaluate her motives and reconsider her life's direction.
For chick lit, this wasn't a terrible book (high praise, indeed, I know!). Many people who've spent most of their grown-up years single (myself included) may be able to relate to aspects of Tessa's life as they read this book. For example, without a family of your own, as a single person your friends can become like family and give you a sense of belonging. However, there were parts of this story that were mildly grating and extremely unrealistic (you knew this was coming, right?). For example, in the beginning, the sheer number of Tessa's "best" friends was overwhelming and it was difficult for me to keep them all (not to mention, their kiddos) straight. Secondly, despite the fact Tessa is without a job for 95% of the novel, she is never without the money. (How does she manage that?) Finally, at times, I felt that Tessa's decisions where her godchildren were concerned lacked a certain maturity that a 30-something person would realistically have acquired.
Toward the end of this novel, I was really beginning to roll my eyes and sigh in exasperation at the "happily-ever-after" direction I thought the novel was head. Luckily, Carrie Adams redeemed herself and Tessa's character (double entendre intended!) by taking the novel to a much more realistic and admirable ending.
The Godmother was okay. It could have been a lot better. I think if Ms. Adams had a better editor it would have been better. There were several obvious spelling mistakes and it did not have to be over 400 pages. It was way too long. I was hooked after the first few chapters, although, it is a little difficult to keep up with all of Tessa's friends in the beginning of the book. I loved it until 3/4 of the way through of the book then I got bored and then very sad. Who in the world has several friends with very, very serious problems? I'm taking drugs, abusive spouses/parents, infidelity, wayward children and fertility issues. It just made me depressed. Tessa must attract drama where ever she goes. And yes, we get it - she is way too involved in her friends' lives and does not focus on her own - that point was beat into me with a stick! I got it. If Ms. Adams had got on with the story about 75 pages could have been cut and it would have been a better book. I gave The Godmother 3 stars - it was just okay.