Monday, June 1, 2009

Review: Mercury in Retrograde

Summary: When Mercury is in retrograde, the only guarantee is anything that can go wrong, will.

Penelope Mercury, an intrepid reporter at the New York Telegraph, has pounded the pavement for five years from city borough to borough, carrying out her boss's eccentric orders to break stories that seem inconsequential to everyone but him. Finally, she is inches away from being promoted to her dream job -- covering courtroom drama for the paper -- but after one spectacularly disastrous day, she is fired instead.

Lena "Lipstick Carcrash" Lipp encrass has a pretty fabulous life, even by a socialite's standards, as a top editor at the high fashion magazine Y. Long lunches with her girlfriends and afternoons spent shopping at Bergdorf's are all in a day's work. But when Lena's always indulgent parents abruptly cut off her cash flow and kick her out of her beloved West Village duplex for refusing to work for the family business, she is forced to confront the reality of what it takes to pay the bills.

Dana Gluck, a workaholic lawyer, had been married for two years to a man who was perfect on paper but increasingly critical in reality. She hoped that her dreams of motherhood would be fulfilled soon, which surely would also fix their marriage problems. Instead, her husband leaves her for an exchange student/model who, to make matters worse, promptly gets pregnant.

When fate conspires to have these three very different women move into the same SoHo apartment building, they soon discover that having their carefully planned lives fall to pieces might be the best thing that could have ever happened to them. -- Atria

About this time of the year, I always start looking for books that I think I'd enjoy reading over the summer. You know what I'm talking about...those books that you can read while you're sitting by the pool or at the beach -- books that you can just sit back and enjoy. Well, I've just finished one that I can definitely recommend as a terrific summer read -- MERCURY IN RETROGRADE by Paula Froelich.

I had a feeling that I was going to enjoy this book when I read the front cover of the ARC. It was just filled with bright-colored praise from some highly respected authors like Candace Bushnell, Jennifer Weiner (one of my favorites), Gigi Levangie Grazer, and Sloane Crosley. I actually love the types of books that they write so their comments mean a great deal to me. A few of the words that they mentioned to describe this novel that I thought were especially true were: humor, charm, clever, zippy, and entertaining. MERCURY IN RETROGRADE was just an all-out great story!

Basically, MERCURY IN RETROGRADE follows the lives of three women who live and work in New York City. At the beginning of the novel, all three women face very different personal and career issues that throw their lives into turmoil - thus the reference to Mercury in retrograde. While I found Penelope's "bad day" to be the most entertaining and definitely the funniest, I did feel some compassion towards Dana and her situation; and I even felt a little bad for Lipstick because she was just so darn clueless. Despite the drastic differences in their lives, all three of the women end up living in the same building and eventually becoming friends with each.

It wasn't always easy to like these characters because they were definitely focused on themselves and their careers; however, I will say that by the end of the novel, I loved all of them and wanted them to find happiness. Probably the character who changed the most was Lipstick -- a high society young woman who spent much of her time looking at websites which rated her popularity. At first, I found her incredibly shallow but then I felt a little pity for her because she had never really known any other life. I really thought Ms. Froelich did a good job of developing Lipstick's character and allowing her to grow and find out who she truly was.

Another thing that I appreciated about this book was how the author moved back and forth between the characters' lives. It was done almost effortlessly and it was extremely easy for the reader to follow. I also like how she began each character's section. In keeping with the theme of "Mercury in Retrograde," she wrote a brief horoscope for each of the characters that alluded to what was going to happen to them in the upcoming pages. I thought it was such a cute idea and perfect for the tone of this story.

Ms. Froelich writes this novel with an insider's view of New York and the people who live there. While I couldn't be farther from fitting into this lifestyle, I absolutely love reading about these people, their houses, their parties, and their clothes. It is evident that Ms. Froelich knows New York very well -- both the city and the people; and she is great at describing it in this novel. For those of you who aren't familiar with Ms. Froelich, she is the New York Post Page Six gossip columnist -- does that sound like a great job or what? I love how she developed not only the characters in this story, but how she made the city into a character of its own.

MERCURY IN RETROGRADE is a very funny book to read which also has memorable characters. I guarantee you will find yourself laughing (a lot) while reading about the adventures of these three women. If you want to get an idea of the story or even Ms. Froelich's writing style, you read this excerpt from Chapter 1. I have a feeling that you are going to be hearing a lot more about this book and this author in the next few months!

Make sure you come back tomorrow because Paula Froelich will be stopping by with a guest post!

Thanks to the author and Atria for sending me an ARC of this book.


bermudaonion said...

I can't wait to read this book. You review was great, as always.

Lauren said...

I'm really exciteda bout this book! It sounds superb - and you're right, the featured authors who recommend it are fantastic so clearly this book must be good!

Gwendolyn B. said...

I can't wait to read this book! Do you realize that we are just coming out of a retrograde period? And it was a particularly tough one for me! I blamed everything that went wrong for the last month on Mercury - poor planet!

Anonymous said...

Sounds fun and I love the cover.

Serena said...

this sounds like a great summer book...something to read lazily!

Beth F said...

I didn't read your review because I don't want to be influence when I go to do mine. But I see that it's good. Yay!

(Diane) bookchickdi said...

I've seen Paula on a lot of TV show promoting the book. It does look like a perfect beach read- thanks for the review!