Turning the Paige
When I saw this title in the upcoming blog tour list, I took a second look because I have a character named Paige in one of my works-in-progress. Then I noticed that Laura Jensen Walker‘s character is a divorced woman of 35 who moves back in with her aging high-maintenance (read: passive-aggressive manipulating) mother, and I thought that I might enjoy the tale.
Turning the Paige is a great read in many ways. I got sucked straight in with this opening:
My mother killed my marriage. Stomped all over it with her Pepto-Bismol pink pumps and ground it to divorce dust.
Okay, maybe that’s not entirely fair. Mom wasn’t solely responsible for the destruction of my marriage. Like many couple, Eric and I had some problems. But the biggest one was my mother. I turned the page in our wedding album on what would have been our five-year anniversary to a close-up of the two of us–happy, bright, shining, and in love. So in love. But that was then and this is now.
My fingers moved up the glossy page to the cleft in Eric’s jaw. I loved that Kirk Douglas cleft and had spent many happy hours kissing it. And the delicious lips above it. Now someone else was kissing them.
I slammed the album shut. And as I shoved it back into the closet, the phone rang. I walked over to the nightstand to check the caller ID. Probably a telemarketer.
As the phone continued to ring, I squinted at the name. Now where’d I put my reading glasses? By the time I finally found them, the answering machine had clicked on.
“Paige?” My mother’s querulous voice filled the air. “Are you there? Or are you out again? Seems like you’re never home anymore.” She released a loud sigh. “I was hoping you could come over for just a minute and pull down my other quilt from the top of the linen closet. This one’s getting too hot and heavy.” She lobbed one of her famous guilt grenades. “Oh well, guess I’ll just have to make do. Talk to you soon.”
My turn to expel a loud sigh.
Paige also has a sister, Isobel; though she lives many miles away she plays an important role in the novel. I enjoyed the story up until the last few chapters. They seemed to be a travel guide to Scotland that, while interesting, didn’t keep the plot moving. Something else in the very end came as a bolt out of the blue to me, totally unforeshadowed. Even so, the ending was satisfying and I’d read another book by this author.
This novel is part of a women’s fiction series called Getaway Girls, in which Paige and her friends have a book club and often plan adventures that echo those in the books they’re reading. I can really see this kind of series working in women’s fiction, because you get to know the various characters but focus on different ones in each book. I was also amused that one of the other women in the series was named Chloe. I’ve got a Chloe and a Paige in the same novel, too!