FICTION

Not Quite Nice

Bloomsbury USA. Mar. 2015. 336p. ISBN 9781632860323. pap. $16; ebk. ISBN 9781632860330. F
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Theresa is starting over—divorce, corporate downsizing, and diabolical grandchildren have pushed her to the limit. Moving from Britain to a charming and carefree life in France sounds perfect. Until a naked man falls into her courtyard. Nearly caught by his wife in flagrante, he gratefully accepts Theresa's blanket and makes off in a hurry; little does Theresa know she'll soon have a run-in with said wife. Local expats rally around Theresa, and her days are quickly filled with socializing and strategizing her new cooking club. After a spate of burglaries, Theresa finds out who her friends truly are. A cinematic denouement followed by an equally dramatic conclusion ties it all in a bow. Actress (The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel) Imrie's lighthearted first novel touches on real-world financial, occupational, and familial concerns of older readers in a way that's genuine and yet reminiscent of old Hollywood movies. The dominance of the dialog is a roadblock to connecting with the characters, and while there are some surprises, it's clear who some of the villains are early on.
VERDICT Recommended for readers seeking a breezy read with a touch of romance and mystery and a heroine they can relate to.

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