SECRET LIVES OF SECOND WIVES
Catherine Todd

 


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William Morrow hardcover Aug 2003
Harper Torch paperback now available
Reviewed by Sissy Jacobson

Women’s Literature

Lynn Bartlett, a forty-something attorney, meets Jack Hughes, a consultant and part owner in an Internet company. When Lynn and her husband divorced ten years ago, she moved to San Diego, bought a small condo, and set up her law practice. She leads a quiet life, dating some, but deciding to be more careful in choosing a mate if there is a next marriage in store for her. Jack seems like a dream come true. His background as a technology attorney gives them something in common. He has been married before, but his ex-wife has remarried, his two children are adults and on their own, and his mother visits only occasionally. The sixth time Jack proposes, Lynn accepts. This kind, gentle, handsome, intelligent man even has the family Lynn longs for.

It doesn’t take long for Lynn’s dream bubble to burst. Jack’s adult children do not like her, his son, who is between jobs…again, is moving in with them, he is still helping support his daughter who is a teacher, and is paying his ex-wife’s psychiatric bills. At the same time Lynn’s partner is caught in shady dealings and her practice goes down the drain, Jack learns he owes the IRS thousands in back taxes. Will joining the Anne Boleyn Society, an informal support group for second wives, help save her marriage?

SECRET LIVES OF SECOND WIVES is "Appealing…Entertaining…A Smart Darkly Funny Novel," writes the Boston Globe; "Catherine Todd has a wicked sense of humor," says Carla Neggers. I don’t think I read the same book they did. Written in first person, this book reads more like a journal than a novel. We don’t get to know any of the characters in any depth, including Lynn Bartlett. What she perceived as kind and gentle in Jack turns out to be more like a spineless doormat when it comes to his children and ex-wife. SECRET LIVES OF SECOND WIVES by Catherine Todd has to have something going for it because I read the whole thing. I just haven’t figured out what that something is. As far as the humor goes, I feel it is more like a journal of disillusionment. My sense of humor is definitely not the same as that of the reviewer for the Boston Globe or Carla Neggers. I think we can safely call this Women’s Lit.

 

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