Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Richest Season by Mary McFadden

The Richest Season
Mary McFadden
336 pages
Book provided by the Early Reviewers program at Librarything

The sky was still dark, as it was every morning when Joanna Harrison began walking the two-mile route that serpentined through the development where she lived.
~ First sentence, Chapter 1, The Richest Season (ARC) ~

After more than a dozen moves in 25 years of marriage, Joanna has become a "corporate wife" - an unofficial breed of single parent whose life is devoted to raising her children and watching her husband Paul, climb the corporate ladder. But now that their kids are grown, Paul's latest surprise transfer is finally too much. When the tiny voice inside her head becomes a shout - "Leave!" - Joanna listens. Committed to starting her life over again, she packs her bags and heads for a place she'd fallen in love with years before, Pawleys Island, South Carolina.

This is wonderful debut novel from a new voice in womens' fiction. Right off I'll say that I would read work from this author again. I'm still not able to pinpoint exactly what drew me into the story but it got a hold on me and didn't let go until the final page. I read late into the night wanting to know how Joanna and Paul's story would play out. It's a story about letting go and finding out that you don't have to keep up with Jones'. It's about the quality of the life you choose to lead not the quantity of the material things you own. One of the things that touched me with this book was not only did Joanna, the lead female character, come to realize what was truly important to her but her husband Paul, the lead male character, also plays a major role in the same way as Joanna and I found that refreshing. Instead of making Paul the bad guy he matures into a character with redeeming qualities. I was more drawn to his story than Joanna's as I usually don't see a male lead characterized and grow the way Paul does.

The side stories and secondary characters make a nice backdrop to Joanna and Paul's story. Grace, Joanna's housemate, and her story draw out what is happening in Joanna's life. Sarah and Timmy, the grown children, have a major impact on Paul and how he deals with what is going on around him.

In all the womens' fiction available out there today don't pass this one by.


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