Harriet Mahoney is an aspiring writer with a boyfriend of 12 years and is a member of a writing group where she feels like an outsider. Forty one and lacking self esteem Harriet's life is in a rut.
Harriet soon finds her boyfriend has met someone else and wants to get married ASAP, so Harriet needs to find a place to live and fast. Responding to an ad in New York review of books she takes a job as a ghost writer for Isabel Krug and moves to Cape Cod.
Isabel Krug is quite a character. She was in bed with her lover when his wife came in and shot him to death. Nan VanVleet is found not guilty by reason of insanity and goes to a psychiatric hospital instead of jail. Isabel moves on with her life and moves to a mansion in Cape Cod to escape her notoriety. She has now decided she wants to tell her side of the story and that is where Harriet comes in. Isabel seems to love drama and mystery and lives in her avant garde home with her handy man and a mysterious man named Costas.
As Harriet begins to gather the notes and tapes Isabel has furnished about the night of the tragedy the more she learns about Isabel and the closer friends they become. It is apparent that these two women need each other's friendship. Together they become better people with the help of each others insights.
Lipman is the master of witty conversation and writes truly believable characters that you really care about, flaws and all. Isabel could have been a caricature but comes across as a believable person and Harriet's growth and learning what her true passion is was very convincing. The twist in the story towards the end was inventive and realistic. This was a charming book that made me smile, and even though you know some of what will happen almost from the start it is still fun getting to the final page.
The characters are a treat in this book of learning how to live through the loves and lives of others. A coming of age story, even though she is forty.
This is a cute easy to read story. You will be surprised at how much you like the characters
A quick, quirky read. Wonderfully entertaining.
At forty-two, Harriet just got dumped by her bagel-baking boyfriend of twelve years and she's still a struggling novelist drudging away at a secretarial job. Then she answers an ad in the NYT for a ghost-writer---and is hired by Isobel, a beautiful and free-spirited woman with her own issues---among which is being involved in an adulterous love triangle that ends with one person dead and another committed to a mental institution. Moving out to Isabel's Cape Cod beach house, Harriet starts learning the truth about not only about how people see themselves as opposed to how they are, but her own truths and self-deceptions.
This wasn't a bad book, but about 2/3's the way thru, I was like let's get on with it. One of the blurbs on the book compare Lipman to Jane Austen---I think Miss Austen has the ability to move a story along at a much faster pace and create more charming, interesting characters. I felt like a lot of the characters in this book were boringly self-indulgent. But it wasn't too bad. This is my second Lipman novel I have read---I probably won't read another one.
Not Lipman's most compelling but still interesting people and fun read.
i enjoyed this book, the characters were quirky and the story unfolds well and kept me interested through the entire book. i love Elinor Lipman's writing style and look forward to reading more of her stories.
Great beach reading! Light, funny.
This book was a Literary Guild Selection. It is a story about one smart women letting go of her dumb choices and fumbling toward love. I read this book awhile ago but I do remember it being a good read.
Great Book. Elinor Lipman is a gifted storyteller. I have just ordered 3more of her books, and look forward to reading them.
Wonderful book by wonderful author.
This was enjoyable. I think the reviews of it were a little generous. It's a light, quick read. Probably a good beach book.
Interesting book based on the life of a wanna be writer. Through a chain of events, she ends up being a ghost writer for the mistress of a murdered man. Isabel is the mistress and the writer comes to understand what it means to "walk a mile in my shoes".
You will absolutly fall in love with the character of Isabelle,
she is eccentric,beautiful,and delightful.
What a great story -- you will easily fall in love with the characters, and the style in which it's written! Casual and honest, authentic and funny, this story should be turned into a film! I highly recommend this book for a great beach read!
I thoroughly enjoyed this- light, funny, and satisfying.
I found this book to really drag. It started out to be fun, but the story was not well woven and there was really no major plot or highlight. It was harmless and forgettable, I guess. I found the Isabel side of the story to be unrealistic and boring. The Harriet story was better, overall. I gave it a 3/5, for a C average.
This is from the back cover:
"When Harriet Mahoney first sees it, Isabel Krug's bed is covered in sheared sheep and littered with celebrity biographies. The unpublished, fortyish, and recently hilted Harriet has fled Manhattan for a room atop a Cape Cod dune. There, in Isabel's loudly elegant retreat, she'll ghostwrite "The Isabel Krug Story", based on the sexy blonde's scandalous tabloid past. Unusually talented in the man department ("I give lessons"), Isabel revamps and inspires Harriet as they gear up to tell all, including the tangled history Isabel shares with her odd lodger, Costas. Life according to Isabel is a soap-opera extravaganza, an experience to be swallowed whole, and her attitude is catching."