Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Elizabeth the First Wife by Lian Dolan

Elizabeth Lancaster, an English professor at Pasadena City College, finds her perfectly dull but perfectly orchestrated life upended one summer by three men: her movie-star ex-husband, a charming political operative, and William Shakespeare. Until now, she’d been content living in the shadow of her high-profile and highly accomplished family. Then her college boyfriend and one-time husband of seventeen months, A-list action star FX Fahey, shows up with a job offer that she can’t resist, and Elizabeth’s life suddenly gets a whole lot more interesting. She’s off to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival for the summer to make sure FX doesn’t humiliate himself in an avant-garde production of A Midsummer Night's Dream.

As she did so skillfully with her first novel, Helen of Pasadena, which spent more than a year on the Los Angeles Times bestseller list, Lian Dolan spins a lively, smart, and very funny tale of a woman reinventing her life in unexpected ways.

Lian Dolan is also the co-author of The Satellite Sisters' Uncommon Senses. As part of the Satellite Sisters, Lian and her four sisters found national acclaim first on NPR, then on ABC Radio and XM Satellite Radio. She also creates the popular podcast and blog Chaos Chronicles.

I must live under a rock because I've never heard of Lian Dolan, but I know who she is now! I'm going to have to get her first bestseller, Helen of Pasadena.  If it's half as good as Elizabeth the First Wife, I know I will enjoy it.

The pages just flew by in this light piece of fiction.  The characters are believable and modern - I probably have ran into them a time or three in my own life.  The pop culture references are abundant and although I didn't get them all, I enjoyed them.  I'm not a Shakespeare expert but I've learned enough basics that I was able to enjoy that part of the plot as well.  

However, it's the dialogue and the sharp, smart writing that kept me invested in Elizabeth the First Wife.  I laughed so hard in parts I cried.  A definite well-recommended read to start your summer reading list!!

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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The old grey donkey, Eeyore stood by himself in a thistly corner of the Forest, his front feet well apart, his head on one side, and thought about things. Sometimes he thought sadly to himself, "Why?" and sometimes he thought, "Wherefore?" and sometimes he thought, "Inasmuch as which?" and sometimes he didn't quite know what he was thinking about.

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