Wonderful You
Grade : A-

While Wonderful You is the second in Mariah Stewart’s trilogy about the three Enright children, it’s actually the first I read. Not only did it work well for me as a standalone, I fell completely in love with the Enright family, and can’t count the number I’ve times I’ve reread this book.

Zoey is the middle child in the family. Both of her siblings have successful careers, doing things they love. Her older brother Nick is a marine biologist, while her younger sister Georgia is a ballet dancer. Zoey’s mother likes to say that Zoey just hasn’t landed in the perfect career as yet, and it’s definitely not for lack of trying.

As the book opens, Zoey’s most recent endeavor - funded heavily by her mother, the successful mystery writer Delia Enright - is flopping. Zoey loves to sell and collect things, so a store featuring exclusive, one-of-a-kind items seemed like just the right thing. Problem is, Zoey’s store is located in rural Pennsylvania, far away from the kind of wealthy patrons it would need to succeed.

As she’s trying to figure out what to do, Zoey learns that a shopping network is expanding and looking for new on-air hosts. This is perfect for Zoey who loves to shop, loves to talk, and has some previous TV experience. Before you know it, she’s interviewed, giving the best audition ever, and lands the job. Shortly afterward the station is sold, and when Zoey goes to meet the new manager, she’s shocked to discover her long-lost childhood friend, Bennett Pierce.

Ben isn’t delighted to be back in Pennsylvania. The only happy home Ben ever knew as a child were the years he and his mother spent with the Enrights. His mother served as Delia’s housekeeper/assistant, and Ben was treated like a member of the family. When his mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, she moved back with her wealthy father. Ben was so unhappy, he locked away those times spent with the Enrights, and remained out of touch for years.

In recent years Ben has been a Grand Prix driver. A serious accident put a halt to his racing career, and gave his scheming grandfather the perfect opportunity to bring Ben back home. When his grandfather discovered that Zoey is working for the shopping channel, he bought it, and conned Ben into temporarily running the channel while he recovers.

This is a romance with no big misunderstandings, no major conflicts; nothing truly remarkable happens. Zoey gets a job. She buys a house. She meets Ben again and falls in love. It’s really the characters who make it for me. These are nice people who truly care about each other. While the Enright children have some disagreements, they love each other. This is a sweet, comfort read.

Despite the fact that Delia is filthy rich, as is Ben’s grandfather, this doesn’t feel like a romance about the rich and famous. The focus is on the relationships between everyone in the family, and on the rather routine, day-to-day aspects of Zoey’s life.

If you’re looking for a steamy romance, and like complicated, angst-filled stories, this isn’t the book for you. Zoey and Ben’s romance is a sweet romance of two long-ago friends. It’s also as much a story of the Enright family as it is of Ben and Zoey’s romance. Fortunately, I like the Enrights, so enjoyed the book a great deal.

Reviewed by LinnieGayl Kimmel
Grade : A-

Sensuality: Subtle

Review Date : January 1, 2011

Publication Date: 1998

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LinnieGayl Kimmel

My first memory is sitting with my mother on a blanket in our backyard surrounded by books and she is reading one of them to me. My love of reading was encouraged by my parents and it continues to today. I’ve gone through a lot of different genres over the years, but I currently primarily read mysteries (historical mysteries are my favorites) and romances (focusing on contemporaries, categories, and steampunk). When I’m not reading or working, I love to travel, knit, and work on various community projects.
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