Author: Susan Rieger
Publication Date: March 2014
Series: Stand Alone
Audio or Book: Book
Reason for Discovery: ARC
I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old line New England firm where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one weekend, with all the big partners away, Sophie must handle the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client. After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. She is locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane—and she also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. As she so disarmingly puts it: It’s her first divorce, too.
You are saved from my movie trailer summary, because the book blurb does a good job of describing the book. I would just like to note that this story is told through a series of emails and divorce paperwork.
When I saw this book was available for review, I jumped on it. I was in the mood for a cute book about a lawyer. I realize that this sounds like a weird mood. I think I was experiencing Law & Order withdrawal symptoms. After I received the book, I didn't have a chance to read it for a while. I later heard that the book was written in the form of emails and divorce paperwork. This got me excited to read the book again, because I love the epistolary form. I can't get enough of books written in letter format. I think the style feels more real to me than other formats. I could be reading real people's letters! When you are reading a book written in first, second, or third person, the reader is traveling alongside the characters or is viewing the world as a god. Anybody can read anybody's emails, letters, or paperwork. *waves to the NSA*
I really loved what Rieger was doing in this book. I enjoyed reading the emails and the documents; however, this is where my enjoyment mostly ended. This book is an example of why a good editor is so important. As I briefly mentioned above, this story is told through the divorce paperwork for Sophie's client Mia. There were just too many documents that were unnecessary for the story. Unless someone is getting divorced, they don't need to read stock documents about separating financials or what Mia and her husband's 401(k) standings are. A little bit of information is nice for color, but there was just too much. I wished that Rieger had just mentioned these documents in Sophie's emails and stated that they were attached to the emails but not include them in the book. The reader only needed to know that Sophie was looking at Mia's financial paperwork, the reader didn't need to see them. I found myself skipping over the unnecessary documents, because they didn't seem relevant to the story (and after reading the book, I can attest that these documents were not relevant to the story).
Another quirk to this book was that sometimes documents were shown to the reader before the reader saw Sophie's emails. Yes, the documents came into Mia's file before Sophie's emails; however, this pacing ruined the reader's ability to feel shocked along with Sophie. I would have preferred to learn something first by reading Sophie's outraged email and then reading the document.
One last quirk was the plot itself. The story fell flat. I kept waiting for something really crazy to happen with Mia's divorce. Nothing out of the ordinary happened. A few interesting things happened in Sophie's life, but not enough for me to be wowed by the story.
Overall, I really liked what Rieger was trying to do with this book. I just feel that the book needed to be cut down and streamlined. I enjoyed enough of the book to say that I would be interested in trying another book by Rieger in the future, if I was assured that the book went through a more thorough editing process.
I give this book a 2 out of 5.