“The Wife’s Tale” by Lori Lansens (Back Bay Books, 2009)

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This is a Laundry Room book—picked from our usually packed bookshelf of free exchange books in the building.  The author is eastern Canadian, so in keeping with my research reading for the Nova Scotia trip.  But, I wasn’t expecting more than a quick read.

The plot concerns an obese wife, Mary Gooch, who is deserted by her husband on the eve of their 25th anniversary.   Her husband, Jimmy Gooch, a good man by anyone’s description, appears to have won a small lottery pot and deposits $25,000 into their joint account, saying in a note that he split it with her.  Then he begins making mysterious withdrawals.

Mary begins her quest for her forever love.  Reasoning that Jimmy would likely have gone to see his mother in southern California, she takes her first flight and lands in the world of possibility.  Here the cast of characters unfolds:  Big Avi, the limo driver with a heart of gold, Eden, her mother-in-law, with a heart of silver, Jesus, an Hispanic hunk, who cleans Eden’s pool and befriends Mary.  IMHO, everyone is just a little too nice and cooperative.  Mary’s passionate love for the contents of the refrigerator mysteriously disappears.  The weight falls from her porcine frame.  She befriends a frantic woman with three-year-old triplets, and is unexplainably able to tame them and open her heart to love and be loved.

It’s a coming-of-age story for a 45-year-old.  And, it’s the American story of promises fulfilled, but not always the ones you want.  As the Stones say, “You don’t always get what you want, but you get what you need.”  And it is a quick read indeed.

Recommended for a quickie; you can leave the book on the plane, and I left this one in the shared library at the Halifax Comfort Suites.