Sex sells. That's the angle book marketers are aiming for with the cherries on the cover, but Lip Service might be a double entendre. I found Julia Sterling's transformation from a confrontation-avoidant, taken-care-of upper class New York wife into a stronger, more assertive, and freer spirit to be the more compelling story. Having had a nervous breakdown in college, Julia married Paul, a psychiatrist and her father's junior colleague. Their relationship reminds me of "The Yellow Wallpaper" until Julia, now 38, takes on a book project at a prestigious progressive sex clinic which involves research as a phone sex therapist. Through this process—without Paul's knowledge— Julia's spirit and sexuality is reawakened.
Some parts of this initially self-published novel are overwritten. One is first told, then shown through the dialogue, repeatedly. The phone conversations are not extremely stimulating, and the author chose to not describe Julia's masturbating after one session, leading me to the conclusion this story is more about Julia's inner transformation. Although parts of the plot seem frivolous at times, in retrospect they do neatly fit together. Part 3 takes the story in another, somewhat unpredicted direction, but Lip Service falls strictly in the romance genre. In short, a nice read about someone making a change in her life, spiced up with a hint of phone sex.