To Go: 40
51. The Brass Verdict — Michael Connelly
52. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo — Stieg Larsson
53. The Reversal — Michael Connelly
54. When You Were Mine — Elizabeth Noble
55. The Scarecrow — Michael Connelly
56. The Poet — Michael Connelly
57. If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t) — Betty White
58. Ape House — Sara Gruen
59. The Paris Wife — Paula McLain
60. Then Came You — Jennifer Weiner
Jules Strauss is a Princeton senior on a full scholarship, who has acquaintances instead of friends and parents she’d prefer to not talk about. But with her “pedigree” eggs, she might be able to save her father’s life. Annie Barrow married her high school sweetheart and became the mother of two boys. But while struggling to pay the bills on only her husband’s salary, she thinks she may have just found the way to add a second income. India Croft, the 38-year-old (really 43) new wife of wealthy billionaire Marcus Croft, thinks a baby might just be the way to secure her new life. But her step-daughter, Bettina, may throw a wrench in her plans when she starts to suspect India isn’t who she says she is.
I had actually planned to read a different book before this, but it wasn’t grabbing me so I skipped over it for the time being. Best decision I made this week — Then Came You was sweet, funny, poignant, and one of the best books I’ve read this year. (I probably say that a fair bit, but I really do mean it.) Jennifer Weiner is a masterful storyteller.
It’s easy to identify the four main women as stereotypes — Jules is the token tortured pretty girl with family issues, who just wishes boys would stop looking at her; Annie is the young, married mother without a college degree who didn’t even think to get one; India is the gold-digging trophy wife; and Bettina is her spoiled, whiny step-daughter — but Weiner manages to transcend them all by making every woman relatable, adding in depth so that you can’t help but fall in love with them. Jules was a tough nut with a fierce love for her father, Annie a devoted mother and wife who was smart as a whip, India was scrappy and worked to become the person she wanted to be, and Bettina was just a girl who wanted her family back.
As for the story itself, it moved like a train; Weiner knew how to pick the best scenes to create the strongest impact, and the novel didn’t feel too long. However, occasionally the narrative got a little confusing when she jumped back and forth in time. But I liked the relevance of her chapters, and that all four women had their voice heard. (In first person, too; my favourite!) Also, I adored the underlying argument about the technology of “engineered” births versus the religious belief that “God decides who is blessed with babies;” nothing like a moral debate to get me going.
I’d definitely recommend reading Then Came You; it’s both touching and silly, and if I wasn’t made of stone I probably would have cried. Multiple times.
Next book: Skyward — Mary Alice Monroe