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Archive for April, 2008

Is life perfect for Mrs. Perfect?

Mrs. Perfect is Jane Porter’s newest novel. If you read Odd Mom Out when it was released last fall, you will recognize several of the characters, as Mrs. Perfect is also set in a well-off Seattle neighborhood. If you didn’t have a chance to read it, the storyline in Odd Mom Out focused on Marta Zinsser, a newcomer who moved into the area as a single, working mother when the other moms in the area are well-dressed, wealthy, at-home moms with nannies. Taylor Young, the main character in Mrs. Perfect, is one of those “perfect” moms from Odd Mom Out, but now we learn the rest of the story – sometimes life isn’t as perfect as it looks. While both books can be read as stand-alone novels, I highly recommend reading both, and not just because Jane Porter’s novels are addicting; they are great reads.

Jane Porter has written more than 20 romance novels for Harlequin, and has written several wonderful chick lit novels for 5-Spot as well. Jane has taken incidents in her own life, and spun them into fiction that captures your attention and imagination, pulling you along for a fabulous ride. Jane’s writing skills help blur the line between romance and chick lit – her characters in her romance novels come alive just as much as her chick lit characters, and while she uses her memories of time spent traveling in her romances, she seems to put more of her self in her books for 5-Spot. Jane was nice enough to chat with us about the lines between fact and fiction in books today.

When Mrs. Perfect begins, we meet Taylor, and at first she is not a particularly endearing heroine; she has a nanny so she can volunteer, have drinks at the country club, and run everything the her way. Her mothering style for her three girls is not particularly hands-on, and her attitude towards other women is not particularly positive. At first, the reader wonders how we will become invested in the life of this character, her superficial nature is off-putting, and it’s hard to relate to a woman who thinks nothing of spending hundreds of dollars on a bra.

Jane Porter’s skill with characters makes the characters in Mrs. Perfect work, though. Once we peel back the superficial layers around Taylor, we learn about her history, the battles she fights within herself, and her judgemental nature about herself, which explains some of her judgemental attitude towards others. When a big financial crisis hits Taylor’s family, life changes, and Taylor is forced to rethink a big part of their lives.

Taylor Young is forced to deal with the questions every person wants to avoid. What is most important in your life? What is the worst thing that could happen to your family, and how could you cope with it? Are your friends the kind that will support you through a difficult time? When we see inside Taylor’s soul, as she has to rethink her life and her attitude, we start to think about our own lives and our own attitudes. The storyline and characters in Mrs. Perfect grip you, and you won’t be able to shake the book out of your head, even if it raises some uncomfortable questions about your own life.

I strongly recommend picking up Odd Mom Out and Mrs. Perfect. You may just want to pick up all of Jane Porter’s novels, too – or reserve them at the library! Jane doesn’t gloss over the dark parts in our lives, but she helps her characters get through those bad spots so that they come out better people at the end, people who deserve a happily ever after. This isn’t one of those dark novels that your book club might force you to read, but it will make you think about the state of your own life – can you get to “happily ever after” yourself? Enjoy Jane Porter‘s perspective, and grab Mrs. Perfect as a lawn chair or beach read this spring or summer!

This book was received from the publisher for review