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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » Helen of Pasadena » User review

delightful book about a woman rebuilding her life after the loss of her husband

  • Jan 18, 2011
Rating:
+5
When Helen's husband is killed in a run-in with a parade float, she faces a new reality as a single mother forced to sell her home and look for a job, all the while trying to cope with the loss of everything she thought she knew about her life and her marriage.

Though the plot sounds like a standard chicklit offering, this book manages to steer a course as straight fiction. Helen is a wonderful character- well written and easy to relate to as a reader. She manages her situation as best she can and her evolving feelings seem to be reasonable developments rather than just plot points to move the story forward. The relationships in the book between friends and family are well drawn; for example, what appear to be stereotypical relationships between Helen and her in-laws actually unfold in unexpected and delightful ways. The romatic relationship was the weakest in the book in my opinion- hence the 4 stars rather than 5.

All in all a great read likely to appeal to a wide range of readers because of the quality of the prose. A great book to fill a few winter afternoons.

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About the reviewer
C Quinn ()
Ranked #348
I love books and review for pleasure, and I love to browse reviews online looking for more books to add to my TBR list.
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Wiki

In Dolan's debut novel, Helen Fairchild finds her life turned upside-down after her husband leaves her for another woman and promptly dies in a freak accident during Pasadena's famed Rose Parade. To make matters worse, Helen discovers that they were on the verge of bankruptcy and she's forced to sell their beautiful home and find a job in order to pay her son Aiden's private school tuition. This makes Helen re-examine the choices she's made, noting "I happily traded in my grad-student status for membership in the young mothers' club of Pasadena." Helen finds employment with Dr. Patrick O'Neill, a Pasadena archeologist studying the journals of an excavator of Troy. He also happens to be handsome, charming, and unattached. In addition to her role as research assistant, Helen must help Patrick navigate the Pasadena social scene, which includes a bevy of beauties all trying to get their hands on him. Dolan (of Public Radio's popular Satellite Sisters) has created a compelling narrative and a memorable cast ideal for the woman who enjoys a quick read, likeable characters, and frequent descriptions of what everyone is wearing.
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Details

ISBN-10: 0984410228
ISBN-13: 978-0984410224
Publisher: Prospect Park Books

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