Divorced, remarried and looking forward to the "empty nest" and the perceived freedoms that go with it, Daisy Herriford Atkins is hitting a few bumps in the road.
She and her teenage daughter, Stormy, are communicating poorly. Stormy is suddenly in trouble at school and highly indignant that her mother doesn't give her enough credit for how she's behaved up until now.
She moves out and in with her father, upsetting her mother, who's been counting the days until she graduates.
Daisy isn't feeling all that well, either. She's nauseous, tired and putting on weight.
Out-of-sorts and feeling more and more down on herself, Daisy joins a book club to break up the daily routine. (Actually, she's kind of coerced into the book club by a friendly but somewhat overzealous book club lady.)
She meets some new friends and begins to explore new ideas, eventually leading her to some fairly important self-discoveries.
It's amazing what getting out once a month can do.
This is meant to be one of four books that wind in and around one another as four authors, including Kilpack, take a character from "The Newport Ladies Book Club" and tell her story.
It's an interesting idea.
However, "Daisy" as a novel on its own is fairly shallow. The problems are predictable and the characters are pretty thinly painted.
The problems that would come with three unexpected (two illegitimate) pregnancies, single motherhood, divorce, poverty and a late-life, high-risk pregnancy are, if not insurmountable, huge. Anyone surviving these kinds of situations would certainly not be a wimp.
It's sometimes hard to believe Daisy isn't stronger or smarter.
It's also a little bit difficult to believe women who had barely met one another would confide major secrets, take one another's recommendations for medical advice and readily agree to baby-sitting each other's young children.
There's also a couple of problems with the doctor suggested by Daisy's friend. Not sure it's ethical for a doctor to team up with a patient for a potential baby swapping. He would also be very expensive and difficult to get in to see.
There's some problem, too, with the new Mr. Wonderful husband, who is kind, thoughtful and loving until he finds out about his wife's unexpected pregnancy. (Do tubal ligations really grow back?)
Then he's Mr. Cold; angry, distant and recommending an abortion for a child that is his and his supposed soulmate's.
The major shift is hard to fathom unless this man was a sociopath from the start.
This book is a curious one, because while it's easy to speed along through the chapters, it's also infuriating.
It could be so much richer and better.
Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.
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