Falling gracefully into life as a single Mormon mom following a caustic divorce is not easy. A new home, a new state and a new ward can’t erase bitter memories or fill the hole left by anger and betrayal.
But that is the stage Whitney award-winning author Annette Lyon has set for her characters in the new novel, “Paige,” the third volume in the Newport Ladies Book Club series. Each book in the series is written by a different author and each becomes a member of a book club. Each woman is at a different place in her life and has emotional and family challenges. "Olivia" and "Daisy" were published earlier this year and "Athena" is scheduled to be released later this year.
Paige is mother to two young rambunctious boys. Needing a fresh start, she uprooted her little family from their Utah home and tumbled to California. As she tentatively steps into her new life, she feels broken and out of place.
After starting a new job, Paige begins dating a focused young lawyer named Derryl who dotes on her but does not share her religious beliefs as a member of "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She also accidentally stumbles onto true friends by joining the book club introduced in the previous Newport Ladies Book Club novels. These relationships help her explore her own heart and see that there is more to her than she imagined.
As Paige searches to find herself amidst the stress of being a newly single, working mother she must decide who she can really trust to help her become the woman she wants to be.
This book is intriguing. While the story isn’t a surprise — Paige has been a player in the two previous Newport Ladies Book Club novels — the details and influences in Paige’s life paint a deeper and more textured picture of her personality.
In “Paige,” Lyon has created characters that are both endearing and infuriating and woven them tightly with the characters previously introduced in the series. Paige and Derryl are easy to love as are Paige’s sweet sons, while Paige’s ex-husband and new wife fill the quasi-villain roles beautifully.
The book drips with emotional uncertainty and doubt, but it also engages readers in tender moments that pull at the heart strings. The scenes involving Paige’s ex and his children are painful, while Paige’s perplexed and almost reluctant dabbling in new opportunities brings the turmoil of her circumstances to life.
Although the book draws readers through the events of Paige’s life, it is really her underlying search to find herself outside the labels of wife and mother that propels the story.