20 July 2012

The After-Wife: A Novel by Gigi Levangie Grazer

Flap Copy from ARC: "L.A. is no place for widows. This is what forty-four-year-old Hannah Bernal discovers after the tragic death of her handsome and loving husband. And yet life stumbles on: Her three-year-old daughter still needs to be dropped off at her overpriced preschool, while Hannah must get back to work in order to pay the bills on "Casa Sugar", the charming bungalow they call home.

However, when a series of mishaps finds Hannah in a posh Santa Monica jail cell, her friends start to fear for her sanity. And after Hannah is dramatically fired from her job, she finds herself in danger of losing her house, her daughter, and her mind.

One night, standing in her backyard under an avocado tree, in the throes of grief, Hannah breaks down and asks "Why?" The answer that comes back - "Why not?" - begins an astounding journey of discovery and transformation that leads Hannah to her own truly extraordinary life after death."

The premise of this novel sounded quirky and potentially very entertaining. I was hoping that Grazer would have tackled a potentially difficult topic with humor - instead I found a boring, ridiculous story with unreasonable and unbelievable characters, dialogue and situations. And I don't mean the presence of a 'ghost', which I knew was coming and obviously was willing to suspend my disbelief in order to be pulled into the story. But the main characters are weak, so weak that it was hard to care about them enough to keep reading. The plot never develops, and no real conflict or tension are ever realized. I only kept reading in anticipation of finally being done with the book - I wouldn't recommend this novel, I think there are many better beach-reads out there.

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