The Divorce Papers

The Divorce PapersThe Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger by Susan Rieger

A novel about a young attorney reluctantly handling her first divorce case (she’s a criminal defense attorney, and was roped into this one much to her dismay), and her divorcing client. Doesn’t sound like a light and cheerful read, does it? Maybe it helps knowing that it’s written in an epistolary format, letting the story unfold through over 400 pages of emails, memos, notes, letters, case law, newspaper clippings, even a psychologist’s report.

That’s probably not persuading you either, yet Rieger manages to convey the story in a light and breezy manner, and it ends up being a delightful peek into the events taking place. Sure, there are some aspects that aren’t cheerful (infidelity and marital fighting in particular), but overall the tone is still surprisingly enjoyable.

It may just be that I’m such a fan of epistolary novels, that I was looking for reasons to enjoy this one, but I don’t think it was completely due to my love for that format. I went into it expecting to just give it a chance, to see if the author could pull it off, and once I reached the halfway point there was no stopping – I ended up staying up way too late as I raced through to the end.

Recommended, although there is some bad language if you’re super sensitive to that. Plus the previously mentioned infidelity, and some other off-screen sex. None of that is detailed at all, so no worries about it being graphic.

Publisher’s Description:
Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too.

Debut novelist Susan Rieger doesn’t leave a word out of place in this hilarious and expertly crafted debut that shines with the power and pleasure of storytelling. Told through personal correspondence, office memos, emails, articles, and legal papers, this playful reinvention of the epistolary form races along with humor and heartache, exploring the complicated family dynamic that results when marriage fails. For Sophie, the whole affair sparks a hard look at her own relationships—not only with her parents, but with colleagues, friends, lovers, and most importantly, herself. Much like Where’d You Go, Bernadette, The Divorce Papers will have you laughing aloud and thanking the literature gods for this incredible, fresh new voice in fiction.

Book Details

Title: The Divorce PapersThe Divorce Papers: A Novel by Susan Rieger
Author: Susan Rieger
Category: Fiction
My Rating: 4 Stars

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The Grand Tour (Kate and Cecelia #2)

The Grand TourThe Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia (The Cecelia and Kate Novels, 2)The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia (The Cecelia and Kate Novels, 2) by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

Another re-read, to refresh my memory before reading the final book in the series. When I read it the first time, I loved it almost as much as book one, Sorcery and Cecelia. This time, I felt it didn’t measure up quite as strongly next to the series introduction.

Much of that may simply have been timing – I read them back to back, and what seemed so fresh and inventive in book one was less so the second time around. Perhaps I’ve also become a more discerning reader though, and could recognize some of the structural limitations of the format. In book one the main characters are separated, and they tell the story through letters to each other. In this book, they’re journeying together, and the narrative is related through journal entries and a written testimony after the fact. It doesn’t work quite as well as the back-and-forth letters.

However, if you liked book one, I do think it’s fun to continue their story, and I’m still looking forward to reading the third book. I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone who hasn’t read the first, which I highly recommend to fantasy fans.

Publisher’s Description:
Kate and Cecy and their new husbands, Thomas and James, are off on a Grand Tour. Their plans? To leisurely travel about the Continent, take in a few antiquities, and–of course–purchase fabulous Parisian wardrobes.

But once they arrive in France, mysterious things start to happen. Cecy receives a package containing a lost coronation treasure, Thomas’s valet is assaulted, and Kate loses a glove. Soon it becomes clear that they have stumbled upon a dastardly, magical plot to take over Europe.

Now the four newlyweds must embark on a daring chase to thwart the evil conspiracy. And there’s no telling the trouble they’ll get into along the way. For when you mix Kate and Cecy and magic, you never know what’s going to happen next!

Book Details

Title: The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia (The Cecelia and Kate Novels, 2)The Grand Tour: or the Purloined Coronation Regalia (The Cecelia and Kate Novels, 2) by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Author: Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer
Category: Fiction / Fantasy
My Rating: 3.5 Stars

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Book Review: A Sound Among the Trees

Sound Among the TreesA Sound Among the Trees: A NovelA Sound Among the Trees: A Novel by Susan Meissner

Multi-generational stories fascinate me, so I was hoping that Meissner’s book would pull me into that world. And she did, somewhat. The contemporary part of the story? Not that interesting, and it felt draggy.

I liked Adelaide. I liked Marielle (although her character development was virtually nonexistant, which was a disappointment). I liked everyone. But the mystery of the house didn’t interest me and I found myself nit-picking bits – the relationship between Marielle and her new stepchildren that seemed unrealistic, a geographical mistake by the author.

Then I arrived at the historical section of the book – about a hundred pages of letters from Susanna Page just before and during the Civil War. I read that portion of the book in one night, pushing bedtime back later and later, because I was caught up in her tale. The abrupt ending made me regret having to come back to the contemporary story.

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