Tuesday 1 May 2012

Alice Hartley's Happiness

Finished April 29
Alice Hartley's Happiness by Philippa Gregory

My mom bought this book last summer when we were in a discount book store. The reason she bought it is that Alice Hartley was also my (paternal) grandmother's name. Scanning the back cover where it said "Alice Hartley is a woman in her prime. Yet she is not happy. Her husband refuses to respond to her mature delights, leaving her powerless as his interest strays elsewhere. ..." grabbed our attention. When my grandma asked me for books, she was always careful to tell me "no sex", so this description seemed too funny.
My mom read it last summer, often laughing out loud and reading me passages. It's been sitting in my pile since then, and since I've been sick for a few days it seemed a nice light read, and it was perfect.
I think of Philippa Gregory for her historical novels, well-researched and with great characterization. This book shows the research and characterization, but is a total hoot. It's a send-up of romance novels, but with a nice humorous base in the men versus women power struggle. Alice takes advantage where she sees it, and finds that she sees what appeals to not only women her age, but many other women and some men too.
One of my favourite lines: "Why do they never learn - these fictional characters who so blithely trigger their own denouement?" I also loved the session with the young mothers doing affirmations.
A wonderful, side-splitting, grin-inducing novel. Enjoy it.

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