Lucy Gets Her Life Back
Everything about Lucky Gets Her Life Back is so gosh-darned Family Friendly, I really wish I’d had a clue about what to expect before I started the book. It’s a tribute to Stef Ann Holm’s skill as a writer that I wound up largely enjoying a book I wouldn’t have touched if I’d known what a relentlessly wholesome experience I was in for.
The Lucy of the title is 45 (refreshing in itself) and, as the story begins, has just moved to Red Duck, Idaho with her sixteen and twelve year-old sons to start a new life and a personal chef business. There’s money in Red Duck and the surrounding area thanks to an influx of Hollywood types, and Lucy has every reason to believe there will be an ample client base for her services.
One of those moneyed types is Drew Tolman, a former professional baseball player and an effortless charmer who’s clearly had every woman he’s ever met eating out of his proverbial hand. He also comes complete with a girlfriend who’s making a very nice living, indeed, selling houses to the incoming rich types. Since Drew is also the Little League coach and both her sons play, Lucy and Drew keep getting thrown together.
Though there is a romance here, it’s a lukewarm one at best and readers should know that Ms. Holm spends as much time cataloging the teenage angst of Lucy’s sons and Drew’s estranged daughter, as well as telling (and, okay, I’ll admit she got to me here) a moving story about Drew’s soon-to-be-ex girlfriend and her growing friendship with the town’s resident centegenarian. The latter is a feisty (but in a good way) fireball who just so happened to be one of the first women lawyers in the state of Idaho and her efforts to help the younger woman come to terms with her dependence on men makes for a terrific subplot.
Even though there are a truckload of characters in this book, most of them were real people and never caricatures or stereotypes. But, despite the fact that there are few direct references, there is a church-y air about this story that isn’t what I’m looking for when I select a book. Call it a feeling, albeit a strong one.
I have to admit, however, in one big instance the author takes those rose-colored glasses w-a-a-y too far. Lucy’s eldest son is flirting with trouble (and with marijuana), but at sixteen, according to an internal monologue: “Sex was kind of weird. He’d had thoughts about what it might feel like, but actually doing it…no way.”
Later, according to Lucy: “Lucy had told Jason the facts of life, but she supposed it was time for a refresher.” Who is this kid, Opie? The out and out total absurdity of this depiction of a sixteen-year-old boy – who generally, let’s face it, are 100% hormonal 100% of the time – took this book from a B+ to a B for me. I expected better.
Still, Ms. Holm has a way of creating characters I think I’ll remember. If the romance is the weakest and least interesting part of the book – and it was for me – I don’t regret meeting a few of the characters I came across in these pages.
But, be warned. Lucy Gets Her Life Back is Family Friendly all right, something I wish the publisher would make clear to readers. I certainly didn’t have a clue.