Thursday, March 10, 2011

CBR3-10: The Three Weissmanns of Westport - Cathleen Schine

A geriatric stepfather falls in love with a scheming woman half his age in Schine's Sense and Sensibility–flecked and compulsively readable follow-up to The New Yorkers. Betty Weissman is 75 when Joseph, her husband of nearly 50 years, announces he's divorcing her. Soon, Betty moves out of their grand Central Park West apartment and Joseph's conniving girlfriend, Felicity, moves in. Betty lands in a rundown Westport, Conn., beach cottage, but things quickly get more complicated when Betty's daughters run into their own problems. Literary agent Miranda is sued into bankruptcy after it's revealed that some of her authors made up their lurid memoirs, and Annie, drowning in debt, can no longer afford her apartment. Once they relocate to Westport, both girls fall in love—Annie rather awkwardly with the brother of her stepfather's paramour, and Miranda with a younger actor who has a young son. An Austen-esque mischief hovers over these romantic relationships as the three women figure out how to survive and thrive. It's a smart crowd pleaser with lovably flawed leads and the best tearjerker finale you're likely to read this year.  - Publisher's Weekly

I found this book on the giveaway shelf at work and was drawn to it because it was set in Westport, CT. I lived near Westport right out of college.  Then I read a review of the book on Beth Fish Reads blog and was excited to hear that this book incorporated themes from Sense and Sensibility with a modern twist.

At first I thought the book was sweet and a little quirky.  But as I kept reading I had a hard time relating to Miranda or Annie.  I always enjoying reading books that have a character who is a librarian.  I was disappointed to see that Annie was portrayed as a stereotypical librarian.

Definitely some plot lines were very soap opera like which is ironic because one of the characters runs away to California to star in a soap opera and quickly becomes engaged to his co-star. Miranda's fascination with the little boy Henry was borderline creepy. I was let down by Josie finally giving in on the divorce terms as well.  The ending seemed to wrap up all the loose ends on the plot very neatly.

If you are an Austin fan, this book is an interesting read because of the Sense and Sensibility themes.  But I really struggled to get through the end of this book.

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