Sunday, July 1, 2007

Review: The Wives of Bath

The Wives of Bath by Wendy Holden
Rating 3 1/2 stars

The original chick litters seem to be moving into Mommy Lit these days, and Wendy Holden is no exception.

Alice is a British lawyer for a magazine who returns from America after being fired because of insane, libellous celeb journalist Amanda. Alice is swept off her feet by Jake, a hunky yet super-zealous eco-warrior with whom she has a one-night stand that leads to pregnancy. Amanda, also back in England, has decided that she and her husband Hugo need to have a baby because it's the latest fashionable accessory. The four end up in the same prenatal class, where Jake speaks for Alice about how perfect and ecologically sound their little family will be, while Hugo can't quite believe he's in this situation. After the babies are born (a comedy of errors by itself), things quickly get out of control and very over-the-top. Jake's environmentalism gets worse by the day and he forces their new family to live in a disgusting shack while he lives off her savings and refuses to use anything that isn't recycled (including human waste fertilizer). Amanda discovers that babies are really quite messy and noisy and not at all glamorous and basically abandons Hugo with their newborn son while she goes off to "have it all" and re-kindle her career. Jake and Amanda are pretty unbelievable, but entertaining. Hugo is probably the best-drawn character - he actually evolves into a loving father. There are a few unexpected twists and, of course, all ends well and very neatly. Which is what I want in a fluffy novel, really.

I read this on a trip to Scotland last year. My best friend had just had my honourary niece, who I was in love with already, so I could sort of relate to the pre and post-natal dilemmas faced by the characters, especially the description of the different types of people in the pre-natal class - it seems like there's always at least one of those know-it-all couples. All in all, this is a fun one - a good beach read.

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