|Wife in the Fast Lane by Karen Quinn|
|Category: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Kerry King|
|Summary: Something's got to give in Christy's life – but what? Her marriage? Her career? Her sanity? Sadly, this tale of the Manhattan Haves is Karen Quinn's slightly damp Squibb of a second novel.|
|Buy? No||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 480||Date: July 2006|
|Publisher: Pocket Books|
Karen Quinn is the best-selling author of The Ivy League Chronicles, a fictional account of her own true-life story and a Richard and Judy Summer Read for 2005. It was really good and, unsurprisingly, I had high hopes for Wife In The Fast Lane, thinking it may also have reached the revered upper echelons of this pink-fluff covered genre. But then, as I have said before, the second novel is always harder to write; it's either streets ahead of the first (having made all your mistakes on your debut) or a bit of a let down (having written such a rip-snorter the first time, that, as the song says, Nothing Compares 2 U).
As the tale begins, our heroine, Christy Hayes, decorated Olympian turned Wall Street business mogul and all-round good egg slash role model is seen carving her successful way through the world of high finance at the helm of her incredibly profitable sporting footwear company, Baby G. Accompanied by her best friend, Katherine, it seems that there is little left in the world for Christy to accomplish. When an invitation to Davos, Switzerland lands on the mat, sent only to the truly awe-inspiring high-fliers of Christy's world, she seizes the opportunity with both hands, hoping for a possible once-in-a-lifetime chance to network with some very grand fromages.
A twist of fate lands Christy in the lap of Michael Drummond; a media magnate as quirkily handsome, wealthy, charming, confident and perfect as one might expect and it is a very short leap to their love affair and subsequent marriage.
Fast forward eight years (or so) and Christy's life begins to see some noteworthy variation in her, thus far, exceptional good fortune and this is where the pace, story-wise, both picks up and for me personally, drops off. For instance, Christy makes some elementary 'mistakes' in her personal life and we are supposed to believe that this dynamic businesswoman is daft enough to sleep with someone's Forbes-listed husband and expect there to be no consequences whatsoever. Moreover, to believe that Manhattan, where they are both from, is a large enough place that they may never bump into each other ever again, accompanied by their respective spouses. To the uninformed, Manhattan island is about the size of my handbag.
I don't want to harp on here because leafing back through my reviews, it is starting to look like I don't like this genre of book, when I actually do enjoy a cleverly-written, girly read. Rachel Johnson: smart and sassy, Marian Keyes (yes, Marian Keyes!): witty, wistful and loveable, Raffaella Barker: joyous, enrapturing and rustic, and Elizabeth Buchan: capable and charming; these all fit that bill. Karen Quinn's first novel, The Ivy Chronicles was also qualified to walk in those shoes. It seems, however, that if Quinn were reading a chick-lit recipe book when she drafted Wife In The Fast Lane, she followed every prescribed ingredient without even an iota of variation. I understand the wide audience appeal of these books and their undisputed attraction; what I must rail against is the graph-line constitution of the plot: the too familiar 'up, down and finishing on up'. I would have been delighted to have read an alternative ending – if Christy is the tough cookie we are expected to believe she is, it would not have been a stretch.
More positively though, there are enough meanderings of the tale for the pleasure of the read to exist within the stuffing, as the 'also-plot' is enchanting and meshes with the co-ordination of Torvill and Dean into the main storyline to ultimately provide a filling, Subway-sandwich of a read. You should know that I read every single page and would certainly feel comfortable in endorsing Wife In The Fast Lane as a good, straightforward beach read for you to pass among your girlfriends this summer.
Sitting on the shelf alongside Quinn's novels, I would gladly recommend some further reading material for your summer suitcase: Anybody Out There? by Marian Keyes, Hens Dancing by Raffaella Barker, That Certain Age by Elizabeth Buchan and Other People's Husbands by Judy Astley.
You can read more book reviews or buy Wife in the Fast Lane by Karen Quinn at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Wife in the Fast Lane by Karen Quinn at Amazon.com.
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