Jul 24 2006
Dear Ms Wax,
This is the third book of yours I’ve read. Do I detect a slight shift towards women’s fiction with this one?
Once again you write about a heroine at whom life throws a curveball and who has to stand on her own two feet. Amanda Sheridan’s husband of 20 years has walked out on her for a shiny new model called Tiffany. He’s also walked out on their two children and life in suburbia. After two months of being stunned, Amanda finally decides to hire a lawyer. She gets her next shock when the lawyer tells her that her husband not only has no assets but might be disbarred for dipping into his clients’ accounts. Faced with no job skills, a huge mortgage and two children to support, she and her new friends decide to capitalize on Amanda’s zest for cleaning. “Maid for You” is born. But in order to be able to clean her neighbor’s homes and also keep her head held high, Amanda resorts to a new persona, Solange de Papillon, a real French maid. Can she pay the bills, juggle her new career and keep the interest of the hot new single father on the block? And can her friends, Candace and Brooke, work out their own relationships, families and hidden pasts?
To me “Single in Suburbia” with the three lead female characters is a bit more women’s fiction than romance, though there is a lot of romance here. Which is part of the problem. While the main romance is focused on Amanda, trying to adequately cover two more strains the story. You resort to a lot of romance cliches (Brooke is from a dirt poor background and thrice married yet childless Candace caves into her mother too much). I wish you’d just spend more time on Amanda. I do like that Amanda’s children are realistically written (the eldest lashes out in anger at both parents and the younger becomes the “good child”) and that Amanda has to use the skills she has to extricate herself from debt. I also like that Amanda and her hero aren’t loaded down with a ton of excess baggage. Real life gives them enough for a realistic story. The book falters a bit at the end when everything gets wrapped up a little too neatly, including the standard “miracle” romance baby.
So, while it isn’t the most imaginative book, it’s well written and held my interest to the end. I’d give it a B-.