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Bentos for A Gaggle of Girls
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You Had me at Goodbye – uplifting chick lit

You Had Me at Good-bye is the newest book by author Tracey Bateman, and the second book in her “Drama Queen” series. This novel takes the classic Chick Lit story of a woman pushing away the guy who is best-suited to her, and puts a different spin on it, creating a lovely and uplifting novel with warmth and depth. Bateman has written several other books in the Christian Chick Lit genre, but readers of different religious philosophies will still find plenty to enjoy in You Had Me at Good-bye.

Bateman combines the fashion and caffeinated fun of New York City with good morals and manners in You Had Me at Good-bye. Dancy is an editor in a publishing house who is surprised when the dream job she was expecting gets swiped by her brother’s British best friend Jack. After cutbacks leave her suddenly unemployed, Dancy tries to determine her best course of action. Dancy feels unsettled despite the moral support from her two roommates: the engaged Tabby (the star of Catch a Rising Star) and Laini, who is caught between careers. As she copes with her unemployment, Dancy works on finishing a book which is filled with characters that are just a few letters away from people in her life – a wonderfully cathartic exercise!

In many Chick Lit novels, there is the gay best friend who helps the heroine on her path, but in You Had Me at Good-bye, it is the owner of the little coffee shop near Dancy’s apartment. Nick’s wife has gone out of town, so Dancy helps him behind the counter for a while, which teaches her about the value of hard work as well as the value of good friendship. Nick becomes a mentor who gently guides her through the different surprises that shake Dancy’s life. Bateman has created a wonderful support network for Dancy, one with people who help her and challenge her to do the right thing.

In a world with many pat story lines and people who don’t follow the rules of good manners, Bateman’s novel is incredibly refreshing. Dancy and her friends are multi-layered characters, with their own quirks and strengths. All of them have struggles, and while the storyline moves them toward attending church, the characters question God and the power of prayer. The storyline has some real surprises that I never saw coming, and it’s very compelling – I finished it in a day, and had a hard time putting it down! I kept looking forward to discovering what would happen next, as I started to really care about each of the characters.

You Had Me at Good-bye is a wonderful book that manages to be uplifting, but not sappy and I heartily recommend it to anyone in need of a story that will leave you smiling. It’s filled with a lot of love, support, and guidance that can help anyone through a tough time – Christian or not. Dancy and her friends are a lot of fun, and you’ll enjoy getting to know them. You may also want to read Dancy’s roommate Tabby’s story in Catch a Rising Star, and Laini’s story will be published in 6/08 – That’s (Not Exactly) Amore. I’m definitely interested in reading more about these great characters!

This book was received from the publisher for review

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