"Back then, when I was a success, and Jake was proud of me," is a phrase that sums up Francesca Sewell's realization that her marriage is over. The bestselling author thought she had everything when she married Jake, but it took a divorce and a writing project to teach her what she'd missed in life. Louise Shaffer's character, Francesca, is Looking for a Love Story.
Fun was a four-letter word to Francesca before she met Jake when she was in her thirties. She had just finished her first book, Love, Max, a novel that told the story of a divorce from a dog's point of view. Francesca's parents had divorced when she was a kid. They both moved on with their lives. Her mother was a brilliant women's rights lawyer. Her father married a blond cheerleader that Francesca grew to love. Francesca's brother was a genius architect. And, Francesca was the one still stuck in the past, wondering why her parents' marriage didn't work.
But, when she met Jake, a successful photographer, he made her into a glamorous author for the talk show circuits, and they lived a fast-paced New York life. But, when she tried to write the second novel, she had no ideas, and her life deteriorated. It shouldn't have taken Jake's request for "a Talk" for her to realize their marriage was over. Other people had seen it coming. And, she had the apartment and the dog. What she didn't see coming was the need for a job.
Since she still had writer's block, Francesca decided to become a writer-for-hire. And, it was a job writing a biography for an eighty-year-old woman that took her into a world she loved. Chicky gave her the story of her parents, Joe and Ellie Masters. As Francesca told their story of a life in vaudeville in the early 20th century, she found answers to her own life.
Like Francesca, I found myself rooting for Joe and Ellie. But, you'll find yourself rooting for Francesca even more. The troubled woman showed signs she had an unknown strength in a brilliant revenge scene that leaves you laughing. That one scene provides hope for Francesca's future. And, that's what Louise Shaffer's Looking for a Love Story is about, hope. Despite set-backs, there's hope for Francesca, Chicky, Joe and Ellie, and other characters you'll care about in this warm book.
Louise Shaffer's website is http://www.louiseshaffer.com/
Looking for a Love Story by Louise Shaffer. Ballantine Books, ©2010. ISBN 9780345502100 (paperback), 320p.
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