LitStaff Pick: Summer Lovin' – Best Books for Your Beachbag

The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus
Sonya Sones

If I’m going to relax on the beach in the shade of a palm tree and read, I want a paperback that is fun and frivolous. I don’t want to think too hard. Yet the story must have intriguing characters, steamy romance, and a page-turner plot. It can’t be too long – I want to both start and finish the book whilst I wile away the hours of a get-away that’s never long enough. And I prefer humor over drama. I want to laugh, not cry. I’m on vacation, for pity’s sake!

I recommend one of last year’s bestsellers, The Hunchback of Neiman Marcus, by Sonya Sones — a novel about marriage, motherhood, and mayhem. This novel in verse tells the delightful story of a year in the angst-ridden life of a middle-aged woman. At times it’s difficult to remember that this book is fiction – it reads like a poetic autobiography. Set in southern California, main character Holly, who is beyond deadline for her latest book, struggles to find the words, the inspiration, and the time to complete her manuscript. Her daughter Samantha will soon leave for college and Holly fears the pending empty nest. In the midst of fielding frequent impatient reminders from her editor, Holly worries about her mother who lives alone in Ohio and has just been diagnosed with polymyositis, is hospitalized, and has a dud of a doctor. Spurred by suspicious outings and emails, she suspects her husband Michael is having an affair. On top of all this worry, her fears, like her changing body, are fueled, fanned, and flamed, by out-of-control menopausal hormones. It’s a light-hearted, endearing, humorous look at what can be a difficult time in a woman’s life.

-Angie Dilmore

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