Thursday, August 13, 2009

Loved Me Once by Gail Hewitt

Forty-four year-old Maggie McLaurin's father left her the house in Atlanta when he died. Though she lives and works in Manhattan, she's struggling to hold on to the house for her mother, who's doctors say a move would likely exacerbate her Alzheimers. However, the property taxes are climbing while home prices around the country decline and the house is slowly falling apart. When Maggie discovers her mother's doctors will cease to accept Medicaid and she goes into a financial panic. Then she's laid off.

When an ex-boyfriend then offers her her dream job, she takes it against her fiancee's wishes, sure it will save all her problems, but her problems are only just beginning.

A classic case of "don't judge a book by its cover", Loved Me Once was a surprisingly good read. Neither the cover art, nor the book synopsis fully do this well-written story justice. "A Novel of Love, Romance and Business" however, is a wonderful description, as I sit here struggling to find a word to describe it. This is not a "romance" novel. There is romance indeed, but it's not the focus of the story. Nor is the financial troubles Maggie works her way through. Refreshingly, this reads as a true to life look at a woman of today, working, loving and living her life in the best way she can.

There are, of course, some fantastical elements. The romance is a bit over the top and most women aren't given jobs where they're suddenly able to employ a personal shopper and fill their closet with designer labels; but, Maggie herself felt real to me. The author, Gail Hewitt, managed to avoid the pitfall I've been noticing with a lot of books recently of drama for drama's sake. Maggie never over reacts to a situation, she reasons things out rationally and her conclusions generally make sense, though I don't necessarily agree with all of them. All the characters are flawed, but inherently likable, the dialogue is realistic for the most part and never felt clunky and the prose was good.

I'd recommend Loved Me Once to anyone who likes their characters real and their situations slightly heightened. It would make a perfect beach or airplane read this summer. I find myself looking forward the the sequel, Love Me Now and the further exploits of Maggie (and the men in her life) but mostly Maggie.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Heather, speaking as the author, I am so glad you enjoyed Maggie and her guys in LOVED ME ONCE. Thank you for sharing your opinion as a Library Thing Early Reviewer. As you see from the material at the end of the book, Maggie's adventures in life and love are continuing in a sequel, on which I'm working. I'm afraid she remains somewhat clueless, at least in some ways.

    Looking at your "Recently Read" widget, I notice Mary Chestnut's CIVIL WAR. Now THAT was a fascinating nonfiction book. Talk about a lot of more-or-less dutifully concealed rage at the system, and that woman was wired into the very top of the Confederacy! In terms of historical image, it's obviously unwise to let such a smart, observant woman "sit at the table of power," so to speak, yet give her nothing to do but make mental notes on the shortcomings of all the men present.

    I won't claim that they're as historically significant as Chestnut's diary, as the writers are much less elevated in political and economic status, but I also enjoyed BROKENBURN: The Journal of Kate Stone, 1861-1868 and SARAH MORGAN: The Civil War Diary of a Southern Woman. They're very different, but both interesting as to the effect of a male-triggered war on young women just trying to get on with their lives.

    I'm not that much into Civil War stuff as a rule, but I must confess that I'm something of a Joshua Chamberlain groupie. It was enlightening to read FANNY & JOSHUA and see a more-personal side of him in terms of his relationship with his wife.

    It's funny how thinking of one book leads to others. I suppose that's a big part of the joy of reading.

    Again, thanks for your review of LOVED ME ONCE. It's the first thing I've done like this, and I wasn't sure if I were sending forth work worth the time of a thoughtful reader. You have reassured me.


About Me

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I'm human, so I've got some issues, but all things considered I guess I'm reasonably normal. My parents are still married. My best friends are my sisters...okay, so I'm normal for the 1850's whatever. I'm opinionated and nerdy. I'm walking the line between tweener-style pop culture love (witness my ever-burning New Kids love and inexplicable Twilight obsession) and elitist culture snob (I can't seem to get enough 19th century British Lit and historical biographies) but, after 30 years, I'm finally learning not to give a crap what anyone else thinks about me. Oh, and those are my feet in the picture. The socks were made by a friend.

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