I’m planning a trip to NYC in late summer, and, decided to begin getting my mind in that frame with a novel taking place mostly in the city. Cathleen Schine has a new novel with three women as main characters. I’d heard it was light and yet well done.
The story begins with old Joe Weissmann divorcing his wife of almost fifty years. Joe is seventy-eight to Betty’s seventy-five. They’ve lived lavishly for years and years in a lovely spacious apartment on Central Park West. Why would this man want a divorce at this age? Why, indeed? He’s either lost his mind or found a younger woman. Alas, we find out in the second paragraph.
There stands a small cottage in Westport, Connecticut that Betty’s cousin Lou insists she move into while they sort out this messy divorce stuff. So, not only does Betty move, but her two very grown-up daughters move along with her. Then the story really is pushed up a notch. These middle-aged women have more troubles than a hit and run driver. They rarely see eye to eye, and now they are going to live in such close proximity. Hm.
Schine does give us a nice glimpse of life in the small vacation mecca known as Westport. I stayed in Westport many years ago for a week. So I was not completely in the dark. We are shown that things are not always ,or even usually, what they seem.
Each woman is going through a pivotal point in her life. Miranda, the youngest daughter, is in big financial trouble; dealing with a business gone awry, and she needs to sort her life out completely. Annie thinks she has met someone special, and is the only one financially stable. But something is missing in her life. Betty, we have already met. She insists she’s in mourning, even though Joe is very much alive. After all, she says, he might as well be to her.
Cousin Lou turns out to be quite the character here. Then there are two young women who are house sitters that enter the picture and become a big part of the story. And the guys; well, there are guys. Lots of characters. But even though there are all these people to keep track of, Schine is great at this. She manages to keep us on the right page and move the story along lickety-split.
This book was perfect for me right now. It is light enough to keep me entertained, has content I am interested in, and is well written. And the story could have been silly, but it is about real issues and the people could be someone you know.
I would definitely read more from Cathleen Schine. I hope the next one is also about New York.