I was recently sent Stacey Lender’s debut women’s fiction novel, City Mouse, free for review and I found it an easy read that’s perfect for summer. It’s a love letter to the big city, but I did feel that maybe the author was a bit too judgmental about those who live outside its borders. Only at the end did anyone appear in the suburbs who had any value to the protagonist.
Jessica is a city girl, but her husband, Aaron, has become enamored with suburbia with its ‘his and hers’ bathroom sinks and backyards bigger than a postage stamp. She finally agrees to buy a house outside of Manhattan, dreaming of dinner parties and a place for her daughters to ride their bikes. Before she has a chance to be lonely, she’s swept up into a clique of moms who like to party and do weekly brunches. Being the only one who works, Jessica starts to feel a bit left out, so she’s excited when they invite her to a moms-only weekend, even though she feels their friendships don’t have much substance. Unfortunately, the weekend gets crazy and goes haywire, leaving Jessica to decide whether keeping up with the cool moms is worth the price of her family.
As I said above, this book was an easy, breezy read. It would make the ideal beach book, especially for busy moms. I finished the novel in two sittings. While I found it enjoyable, I was dismayed that most of the book made the suburbs sound like they’re packed full of party people who look out only for themselves. The few characters that didn’t fit that mold were thrown in at the end like an afterthought. Being someone who prefers living in a large city, I can appreciate Jessica’s love of New York, but selfish people live everywhere, as do their more courteous kin.
Other than that, the story moved at a steady pace and I liked Jessica and Aaron’s characters. They weren’t perfect, but they loved each other and their kids with abandon. Like all couples, they had their issues, but the strength of their relationship is what saved them during trying times.
This book was almost a 4-star read for me, but I feel like it fell a little short, so I’ll give it a 3.75. If you enjoy mom fiction with a sexy feel and a bit of a wild streak, this should be on your summer reading list. If you’re easily shocked, you may want to pass it up.
3.75 out of 5 stars