I know the author and I know her in real life, however we are most assuredly are *not friends*. Neither are we enemies, but I never had any social interaction with her except chit chats in court while waiting to be called in front of the judge. Her firm had been one of my firm's adversaries for years. She does not know that I review books for DA (I hope she does not, at least, because I certainly did not share that with her), and she mentioned that she writes books when she saw me cracking my kindle open in court - I am sure in hope of gaining new reader. I was so shocked (I really should stop being shocked that everybody around me turns out to be a writer, but that's neither here nor where) that I read this book - it was free that day, and I think it may even still be free.
So, she is also Russian Jewish first generation immigrant and it shows in her writing (same as it shows in mine of course), but I honestly do think she has the writing gift. This is the first book in the four book series and we meet Alex 42 year old first generation immigrant who is well, everybody - brilliant lawyer, brilliant realtor (she fixes apartments, sells apartments, has plenty of other businesses) and she is pretty, great mom. If you ask whether she is a Mary Sue? yeah, I think she at least comes pretty darn close. She had a fantastic marriage (second one), but her husband died and she started new romance.
Have I mentioned that the guys fall over her?
“The fact that she was tall, confident and wore only tonal make-up simply complemented her aura. If she wanted to, she could turn on any and all guys in this restaurant. But Alex had no interest in anyone, so she stayed invisible”.
So, what we have is her speaking with therapist and giving long and I mean *looong* speeches about what happened before in the story and that makes the story quite distant in places and bits and pieces of useless trivia about real estate law and appartments and stuff. And deep discussions of sex life with her friends ala "sex in the city".
And despite all of this shit I could not stop reading. I am sure part of it was because even though I do not belong to "rich and famous" haha, some settings details sound really spot on for my culture, even tiny bits like this:
"She opened her fridge and took out the salad that she’d made yesterday. Russians regarded “salad” as properly chopped ingredients under mayonnaise, like a tuna salad, rather than something being tossed with lettuce. In fact, the Russian Language had no differentiation between lettuce and cabbage, and cabbage was a main meal staple that had no place in salads."
And part of it because in some ways it is a comforting fantasy. NOT A ROMANCE BEWARE.