Release Date: 30 April 2006
"Almost nobody writes serious entertainment with more panache" than Elinor Lipman, wrote the Chicago Tribune. From her debut novel, Then She Found Me, which in the words of the Washington Post revived the art of "screwball comedy for the newly dawned nineties," to her most recent, best-selling The Pursuit of Alice Thrift, which the Philadelphia Weekly hailed as "the most perfect piece of prose writing to come along in quite a while," Elinor Lipman has set the gold standard by which other comic novelists are judged.
Now her pitch-perfect new novel, set in 1978, introduces us to the beguiling Frederica Hatch. Born and raised in the dormitory of a small women's college, and chafing under the care of "the most annoyingly evenhanded parental team in the history of civilization," Frederica is starting to feel that her life is stiflingly snug. "I had no intention of blending in. I wanted to be who I'd become, the Eloise of Dewing College, the full-time residential expert in an institution that others occupied only fleetingly."
Into this cozy world comes Miss Laura Lee French -- a wannabe former Rockette and the new dorm mother at the college where Frederica's parents teach and live. Laura Lee proves to be the enthralling and glamorous antithesis of the Hatches, whose passion for liberal political causes is all-consuming -- even Frederica's Barbie dolls have been anatomically corrected. As Frederica says, "The timing was excellent . . . Just as I was craving more attention, along came Laura Lee French, dorm mother without a day job, single, childless, and ultimately famous within our gates."
"Like an inspired alchemist" (New York Times Book Review), Lipman turns this seemingly routine faculty hire into a catalyst for havoc and hilarity. For it happens that Miss French -- in the distant past -- was married to none other than Frederica's earnest and distinctly unglamorous father.
As in her previous novels, Lipman writes "in a delicious style that is both funny and elegant" (USA Today), rendering serious subjects "through a lens of humor and hope" (Boston Globe). The results? Vintage Elinor Lipman -- delightful, memorable, and touching.
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