I’m certain the entire event will be just a giant Band-Aid on what has, from all accounts, been a very nast marriage. But it’s not just the spectacle that’s making the pit of dread in my stomach expand. it‘s the prospect of having to go home again. A place I fled over twenty years ago, after I lost her. Mom.
I’ve returned only the one time, for my father’s funeral.
This is my first May Cobb novel, but won’t be my last. I thoroughly enjoyed A Likeable Woman. Kira is a woman who had a breakdown and basically was sent to boarding school when her mother killed herself after a party. It’s been twenty years since Kira’s been home: she barely talks to her older sister with whom she’s got some old pains with, and only went home when her father died. But everything comes to a head when one of her old friends/ frenemies is celebrating her 20th anniversary and wants to bring the old crowd back together to affluent east Texas. Now, it’s kind of unclear why they would want Kira there – who wants to see someone you’ve not even so much as heard of in twenty years? But Kira gets invited. And doesn’t take it well. It’s clear her mental health is a bit strained still around any memory of her mother. But she decides to go and face some of her demons after two things happen: her crotchety but wealthy grandmother kind of bribes her with something of her mothers that she’s discovered, and Jack, Kira’s first crush and kind of “the one who got away” says he’ll go back with his wife and child, if she goes. In a lot of ways, May’s world reminds me of the gossipy Jilly Cooper, Louisa Bagshawe, Jackie Collins books that I devoured growing up.
Of course, the weekend is anything but boring. The story is an action packed two days that is interspersed with snippets of Kira’s mom’s diary/ memoir that she was writing for Kira. It shows her mom’s state of mind and life that a young Kira never really got to know. And then the mysterious and threatening texts start. Kira is trying to prove that her mom never killed herself, but it becomes clear that someone wants the past to stay buried. There’s a lot of relationship drama here in the story, and I do wish some of it had been a bit more fleshed out, especially between Kira and her sister Kate. They were close before their mother’s death but went very different directions after the tragedy.
I enjoyed the story line a lot, even if I suspected who the bad person was part way through. There aren’t a lot of likable women in the book – which at first bothered me, why did everyone have to be kind of awful? But then I realized that was kind of the point of the book and Kira’s mom’s whole struggle – being likeable versus being your own woman and not being defined by society’s expectations. Kira is not a perfect character: she’s pretty selfish and makes herself out to be the victim a lot, often to excuse her own bad behaviour. She was an interesting character. She has very much idolized her dead mother and made a saint out of her so it was fascinating to see the truth through her mother’s own words in the memoir. It’s always an interesting moment when you realize your parents aren’t perfect.
All in all this was a solid read for me. I am looking forward to picking up May’s other books and diving back into her hot, steamy world.
Thank you, Berkeley, for the ARC in return for an honest review.