In May, I took a day trip up to Salem, MA to visit a friend and one of our stops in town was Wicked Good Books (followed by a fantastic dinner at Counter and an absurdly decadent sundae at the Dairy Witch). I always love browsing the shelves and on this particular visit, I knew I had several getaways coming up, so I was looking to load up on new titles.
One of the books I selected was Secret Lives of Husbands and Wives by Josie Brown. The two reviews quoted on the book jacket are from romance novelist Jackie Collins and television star Lisa Rinna, if that gives you any indication of the guilty pleasure level going on here.
I read the book while visiting my family in Miami and it was great for both the plane and poolside lounging. The story is set in the community of Paradise Heights, where the homes are big and the egos of the PTA moms are even bigger. It felt like Big Little Lies meets Desperate Housewives.
In the first chapter, we meet stay-at-home mom Lyssa Harper and her neighbor, Harry Wilder, who is currently at the center of a cheating scandal. Harry finds himself face-to-face with the PTA moms, completely unaware of the rules. On page 14, Lyssa narrates, "I am so tempted to level with him about his new life, to blurt out the truth: that suburbia is a jungle, filled with lots of vicious creatures. Gain a few pounds, and the hyenas start giggling behind your back. Fail to volunteer for that field trip, and the silence of those usually sweet-as-lambs mommies who must pick up your slack will be deafening. Forget that it's your turn to bring the after-game healthy snacks for the Little League team, and you might as well not show up because the other mothers' tongue-lashing will shred you into human tartare. And you, Harry Wilder, are nothing but fresh meat. So please, watch your back."
I got bored pretty quickly with the petty mommy wars, but the book kept my attention with two storylines: uncovering the mystery of who Harry's wife had been cheating on him with, and wondering if Lyssa and Harry would eventually give into the sexual tension pulsing between them.
While this wasn't my favorite book of the summer, it was a great vacation read - easy, light and delightfully gossipy.