Synopsis: Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!”
This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old.
But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over. Following a catastrophic prime-time TV interview, she carts her sons back to Ireland to retrace their family’s history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside things are still far from simple, and Liddy will have to come to terms with much more than a stormy neighbor and an unorthodox wedding if she ever hopes to rediscover the real Liddy James.
Fun, fearless, and full of heart, The Real Liddy James takes a fresh look at the balancing act every family performs. With the deft characterization and sharp wit that made her first novel an international bestseller, Anne-Marie Casey invites us into the ambitions, passions, and misadventures of this extraordinary heroine.
Review: 4/5 stars
So, excepting that long-ass synopsis, I really enjoyed this book!
To be honest, I went in with low-ish expectations. Its Goodreads rating when I first looked it up was a rough 3.34; it has since dropped even lower to a 3.26. But despite the amount of judging-by-rating I do, I often disagree with it. (In my last review I gave a book with a four-star rating a 2.5, and one of my favorite books of 2016, Jonas Karlsson’s The Invoice, is a fairly low 3.65.)
This book is pretty fun. I definitely had some problems with it, but not 3.3-average problems. Some characters are a little flat, and some are a little unrealistic, but I think this book generally does a good job of what it set out to do. That being add to the conversation of whether women can have it all. This book also does a good job of subtly pointing out what many others don’t: men can’t have it all, either. Ex-husband Peter sacrifices a role as an active parent in order to focus solely on his job, a position he attempts to reverse at the end. Hot Irish lawyer Sebastian has no children and gets divorced during this book: he, similarly, changes his priorities by the ending. So while unfortunately this book states that you can’t really have it all, at least a) the characters end up happier than they were and b) it happens to the men too.
This book is especially good for all of you who are looking to expand from YA and get into some general fiction. The Real Liddy James has all the chaos, crushing and traveling you’d find in a young adult contemporary, so it works well as a stepping stone between genres.
Bottom line: I really recommend this! If it sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can head over to my Instagram to enter my giveaway, which closes 9/25. Putnam is ever so generously allowing me to give out three copies of this book! US only, unfortunately.