Reviewer: Amy Lignor
Title: She Makes it Look Easy
Author: Marybeth Whalen
Publisher: David C. Cook
Release Date: June 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Inspirational Fiction
Year/Setting: Present day, Essex Falls, NC
Overall Rating: 4.0
Sexual Content Rating: None/Subtle
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None/Mild
Violent Content Rating: None/Minimal
Marybeth's Website: www.marybethwhalen.com
What would you get if you took The Stepford Wives and combined it with Martha Stewart? Give up? You would get THIS fantastic novel!
Ariel is a housewife who absolutely loves her husband, David, and her three slightly-deranged little boys. Her favorite thing to do is photography, which is quickly becoming a huge business for her; in fact, a great many "rich" women want Ariel to photograph their "family memories" as soon as possible, and are willing to pay through the nose. Ariel’s husband has just taken on a new job which will bring in a great deal of income - although he will have to travel a lot, leaving the scatter-brained Ariel to take on the majority or household/child duties. Now, she’s a great Mom and a good wife, as well as a good photographer - she’s just a little disorganized, and is more than a bit afraid to move into their new house in the "high-end" community of Essex Falls. Even though Ariel and David have dreamed of this "better" life for a long time, they certainly had no idea what they were walking into.
Justine is a woman like no other woman. She is beautiful, beyond organized, wife, mother of two beautiful girls, a column-writer for the neighborhood newsletter, member of the PTA, and spends what little time she has left with the Helping Hands church ministry. Justine is also the best of the best and "runs" the Essex Falls neighborhood. Everyone turns to her for advice - or, so it seems - and Justine can do no wrong. She runs her house like a clean, organized world and tries to teach other wives how to be all they can be. When her best friend moves away however, Justine feels almost crushed. She can barely deal with the fact that new neighbors are moving in behind her. She has no idea what they will be like, and when she’s told by a friend that her annual part in the Patriotic Pageant has been taken by a new neighbor, Justine can barely contain the hurt and anger she feels.
When Ariel and Justine meet, it’s friendship at first sight, but as Ariel continues to get to know the Essex Falls world and becomes closer to Justine, she notices odd things about the other new neighbors who have just moved in, as well as residents who have a ton of opinions that she keeps "hearing" about. As the story progresses, secrets come to life that make Ariel have to choose between her new friend and the rest of the neighborhood; and, when Ariel finds herself being used, she has to ask herself who she can really trust.
This is a great novel, people - with a truly heartfelt theme. We all look around at what we would like to have, and we pick out a person who seems to have it all. But…what’s the old saying? Be careful about putting any person on a pedestal, because it just gives them a whole lot further to fall. This author has REALLY nailed it! Enjoy!
Until next time,
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