Farewell, Dorothy Parker

Putnam. Feb. 2013. 320p. ISBN 9780399159077. $26.95; ebk. ISBN 9781101609231. F
In this funny yet tender homage to Dorothy Parker, Meister's fourth novel (after The Other Life) resurrects the iconic wit of the literary legend. Violet Epps tiptoes through life wearing her anxiety and deference to others like a shield. She just doesn't have faith that she can stand up for herself to a pushy boyfriend, an overreaching junior colleague, or her orphaned niece's paternal grandparents, especially not with the kind of conviction typically conveyed by Dorothy Parker. Little does Violet realize that along with the Algonguin Hotel guest book that she impulsively stole and that is signed by her idol comes the spectral Mrs. Parker. Coached (and sometimes possessed!) by Mrs. Parker, Violet practices finding her voice and putting her past to rest so that she can fully face her future.
VERDICT With a breezy and engaging writing style complete with Parkeresque banter, Meister's book can be forgiven a slightly predictable storyline. Realizing how it will end takes no pleasure from the reading, and the blend of romance and family drama with a hint of the paranormal has broad appeal. This will be enjoyed by readers who liked Jennifer Crusie's Maybe This Time.
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