Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Book Review: Paige by Annette Lyon (Whitney Finalist)

Title: Paige
Author: Annette Lyon
Enjoyment Rating: ***
Whitney Finalist
This book would be rated: PG

Paige is a newly-divorced mom of two, who moves from Utah to Southern California to make a new start close to her (ex) in-laws. She finds a job as the manager of a dental office (a job she knows well since her slimy ex was a dentist) and settles into a life of barely making ends meet, enjoying her little guys, and harboring hatred for her ex and his new wife. Then she finds a flier for The Newport Ladies Book Club and decides to join.

I'm very intrigued by the premise of The Newport Ladies Book Club, which is a group of novels written by some of the heavy-hitters in the world of LDS fiction. There are about ten women in the book club, and so far each of the four authors has written one woman's story, with more stories forthcoming. I believe that Paige is the only LDS member of the club, which gives this book a slightly different twist.

Anyway, Lyon does a nice job with Paige's story. She feels like a real character (one of my hangups about Lyon in the past has been that she includes a few too many real-life details, and that's true in this book too, but it's easier to overlook here than in 2010's Band of Sisters). Lyon introduces some good tension with the (unfortunately named) character of Derryl, the non-LDS guy who is everything her ex wasn't-- sweet, attentive, and understanding. But does she love Derryl, or just the idea of what he represents in her life? One of the things I particularly enjoyed about Paige is the way that Lyon deals with the way that LDS people sometimes have a small worldview, especially when they engage with non-LDS people, become friends with them, and then are surprised at the depth of their spiritual and moral characters.

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