Sunday, June 29, 2008

Book Review - As Good As It Got by Isabel Sharpe

As Good As It Got
Author: Isabel Sharpe
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Avon A (June 24, 2008)

Synopsis
 Ann Redding has taken every lousy thing life has thrown at her and handled it very well, thank you very much. All she wants is to get her life back on track...but that won't happen till she makes her worried family and friends back off by spending two weeks at Camp Kinsonu, a retreat for suddenly single women. Now she's stuck sitting around a campfire, singing "I Am Woman" with a bunch of sandal-clad, makeup-boycotting women. If she doesn't get out of there soon, they'll be sizing her for Birkenstocks.

Kinsonu, an idyllic retreat on the coast of Maine, is supposed to be a place for new hope and new beginnings. But Ann doesn't belong in an estrogen Eden, she belongs in a corporate boardroom. Still, the camp has its compensations—she's grudgingly befriended some other "inmates," including Cindy, who honestly believes she's just killing time till her serial-cheating husband comes crawling back. And Martha, shy, overweight, and mysteriously silent about the man she's there to get over.

Maybe it was fate that brought them together at Camp Kinsonu, maybe just bad luck. But three strangers are about to bond on an adventure they didn't ask for—and discover that lives they thought were as good as it got could suddenly get a lot better.

Review

 Isabel Sharpe really knows how to draw her audience in. This is a thoughtful and provocative read that looks at essentially the same issue  - viz loss of a male loved one, either temporarily or permanently - from four very different feminine viewpoints. It's sure to strike a chord with women everywhere, as who among us has not experienced that loss.

The concept of a grief camp is also novel and appealing. Although I didn't feel the camp or its activities had a profound effect on the protagonists, I loved how the women react to each other and help change each other's lives. While no clear-cut solution is provided, the hope for a better life is implied and feels very natural and believable.

Also, Sharpe's love of all things Maine comes through clear and strong and will surely encourage her readers to visit that beautiful, tranquil place.

I particularly liked the Q&A with the author provided at the story's end which sort of answers some questions the readers are sure to have.

About the Author

Isabel Sharpe was not born pen–in–hand like so many of her fellow authors. After she quit work in 1994 to say home with her first—born son and nearly went out of her mind, she started writing. Yes, she was the clichéd bored housewife writing romance, but it was either that cliché or seduce the mailman, and her mailman was unattractive. After more than twenty novels for Harlequin and the exciting new direction of women–focused stories for Avon Books, Isabel admits that her new mailman is gorgeous, but she's still happy with her choice.

To buy a copy of the book, go here.
To buy a Kindle version, go here.
To visit the Author's site, go here.
To visit the Publisher, go here.
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