Monday, August 5, 2013

The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane

I think living in Iowa has made me very sensitive and excited to see books that are set in my home state.  While I can't speak for others, it seems that so many books are set in New York or other big cities that I'm not sure residents who call those places home get a thrill each time they see their home state as a setting in a book they are reading.  

It seems like a rare occurrence that I see Iowa as a book's setting.  The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane by Kelly Harms is set in Iowa - and more specifically Cedar Falls, Iowa - a town just 20 minutes from where I reside.  That alone had me adding this title to my TBR list.  

Janine Brown "Janey" and Janine Brown "Nean" both hail from Cedar Falls, Iowa.  When Janine Brown is announced as the winner of a dream home in Maine both believe they are the winner.  Neither knows of the other, and Nean quickly makes her way to her new house, anxious to be rid of her scumbag boyfriend.  

Janey has been dealing with social anxiety issues since the death of her fiance.  She lives iwth her great aunt Midge, finding solace in the cooking and baking she enjoys.  Although Janey at first resists, she is no match for Midge who insists they move to Maine.

Of course once Janey and Nean are in Maine they both take up residence in the dream home they each believe they own. While this would seem a simple thing to unravel, it is not, and Midge invites Nean to stay at the house. Their lives in Maine begin to take shape and soon the two women who share a name begin to share much more.

I started reading not quite knowing what to expect. At first I was not overly impressed. It felt like Harms was making light of Nean's boyfriend abusing her, treating things a bit too cavalierly.  However, I also can see that Harms' book is entertaining, not a book that tackles a big issue like spousal abuse.  And slowly The Girls of Shipwreck Lane grew on me. I will admit that I liked seeing a familiar town in print, but honestly, this book could have taken place in Anytown, USA.

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