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ANGRY HOUSEWIVES EATING BON BONS

Lorna Landvik, Author
Lorna Landvik, Author . Ballantine $23.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-345-43882-9
Hardcover - 632 pages - 978-0-7862-5406-4
Paperback - 417 pages
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 978-0-345-47209-0
Book - 978-0-345-47375-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 512 pages - 978-0-345-47569-5
Prebound-Glued - 417 pages - 978-1-4176-6433-7
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Five friends live through three decades of marriages, child raising, neighborhood parties, bad husbands and good brownies—and Landvik (Patty Jane's House of Curl) doesn't miss a single cliché as she chronicles their lives in this pleasant but wholly familiar novel of female bonding. When Faith Owens's husband is transferred from Texas to the "stupid godforsaken frozen tundra" of Freesia Court, Minn., in 1968, her life looks like it's going to be one dull, snowy slog—until the power goes out one evening and a group of what appear to be madwomen start a snowball fight in her backyard. These dervishes turn out to be her neighbors: antiwar activist Slip; sexpot Audrey; painfully shy Merit; and widow Kari. They become fast friends and decide to escape their humdrum routine by starting the Freesia Court Book Club, later given the eponymous name by one of their disgruntled husbands. As the years pass, Audrey and Merit get divorced, Kari adopts her niece's illegitimate baby, all five of the women find work outside their homes and they even smoke a joint together. Their personal dramas are regularly punctuated by reflections on political milestones ("First Martin Luther King, Jr., then Bobby Kennedy. As if we didn't have enough to worry about with this stupid war..."). While some scenes are touching and genuinely funny, readers of Fannie Flagg, Rita Mae Brown, Rebecca Wells and many imitators will feel that they've seen this before. (Mar.)

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