Maybe in Another Life by Taylor Jenkins Reid

After meeting this author at a literary conference, I bought her book.  I liked the author’s witty presentation and decided her book would be a good companion for my next long flight.  As I usually do with authors new to me, I wondered if my library had any of her books, and found three.

Unknown-1  If you remember the Gwyneth Paltrow movie “Sliding Doors” or the book by Peter Howitt, you will recognize the theme – the consequences of choices.   Reid uses a turning point decision to outline two possibilities for her heroine, Hannah Martin, a displaced Angeleno returning home, confronting her old life and loves.  Chapters alternate between the decision, and the suspense carries both life possibilities into thoughtful dilemmas.

When Hannah meets her old boyfriend after years apart, she recognizes her feelings still offer possibilities with him, but their communication is not as fine-tuned as it once was.  In one scenario, Hannah goes home with him and restarts their love affair; in the other, she goes home with her friends and gets into an almost fatal car accident.  Reid addresses each concurrent storyline with strengths and weaknesses, and keeps the suspense alive, as the reader wonders if the resolution will be the same.  Do small choices have drastic effects on the future? Do decisions matter or are we all fated to come to the same destiny, no matter how we get there?

Reid’s story is a light romance with an appealing twist – a good summer beach read.  The theme of her new book, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, reminds me of The Thirteenth Tale (one of my favorites) about a famous author revealing her secrets as she uses a young woman to write her memoir.  In Reid’s book the woman is a fading movie star – another possibility for a long plane ride.


What if all you need is a little comfort food?

I remember shocking someone (who thought she knew me), when I muttered that I had watched Tommy Lee Jones on the soap opera, One Life to Live – before he became a superstar (Lonesome Dove, Men in Black, The Fugitive).

Did she think  I only watched PBS or BBC broadcasts of the classics – a common misconception of English profs?  It’s been awhile since I watched a soap, but the Hallmark Channel is still in my mix.

So – time for the comfort of  a sweet and light fluff that follows a successful formula, with all turning out for the best in the end.  This one is called The One That I Want by Allison Winn Scotch and could be a contender for the Hallmark Channel – or maybe Lifetime or Oxygen…

Hometown cheerleader gives up her dreams to be a photographer, and settles into a predictable life –  marrying her high school sweetheart/jock, and  becoming the high school guidance counselor.  Her unhappy husband has a thirty-something crisis and leaves, with the excuse of finding himself.  The plot twists when a visit to a gifted palm reader gives our heroine the unexpected ability to see into the future – not change it, just know what will happen – when she looks at photographs she has taken in the past.

She finds out more than she wanted to know, and copes.  Better yet, she finds her true self and goes off into a rosy sunset.  As quick and satisfying as eating your favorite comfort food – maybe mac and cheese, followed by a bag of Hershey kisses?