Elizabeth Buchan, Author . Viking $24.95 (341p) ISBN 978-0-670-03206-8

Living wisely is the best revenge for a London book review editor who loses both husband and job to her conniving assistant in this sophisticated and satisfying novel. Rose Lloyd is in her late 40s and has been happily married for 25 years when Minty, her "glossy free-ranging" young assistant, brusquely shoulders her aside. Husband Nathan, who is a deputy editor at the same newspaper, is decent and remorseful, but determined to start a new life, and Rose must pick up the pieces—which she does with commendable energy and resolve. Sidestepping the conventional wife-gets-even plot, Buchan opts for a more believable examination of one intelligent woman's midlife coming-of-age. With wry insight, Rose reflects on her affair with former lover Hal, a roving travel author, and her later happy life with Nathan and their children, Poppy and Sam, who are now embarking on their own marital journeys. Readers will appreciate the way Rose gets through the grief with admirable zest—"For anyone's information, the healing quotient of getting without difficulty into a black lace body embroidered with tiny butterflies is high"—and discovers "If becoming older meant loss... then it also gave back something unexpected." (Feb. 10)

Forecast:British writers of women's fiction continue to hit the ball out of the park. Buchan's novel—a bestseller in England—promises to rival in popularity Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It. The sour-sounding title won't help, but Buchan's story is anything but bitter and should generate excellent word of mouth. Five-city author tour.

Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 02/01/2003
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