CRANBERRY QUEEN

Kathleen DeMarco, Author
Kathleen DeMarco, Author . Talk Miramax $21.95 (208p) ISBN 978-0-7868-6765-3
Paperback - 264 pages - 978-0-7868-9037-8
Paperback - 978-0-7868-8653-1
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Dominated by dialogue in the form of verbal jousting, film producer and television writer DeMarco's first novel reads a lot like a screenplay for the film it's already slated to become, optioned by Miramax Films. At 33, Diana Moore, good-looking, bold and sassy, is the marketing manager for a successful Internet company. She still broods, however, about the "Monster" who dumped her three years ago and now dates a younger woman. She blames herself. As she tells her therapist, "No wonder I have no boyfriend; I say awful things." But her life is otherwise enviable: she has loving parents, a brother she cherishes and a hefty 401(k)—until a devastating accident destroys everything that makes her life worth living. Well-meaning friends and sympathetic co-workers become smothering. She quits her job, leaves the city and ends up in rural New Jersey, her Volvo disabled after a collision with an elderly woman riding a motorcycle who turns out to be a major cranberry farm owner named Rosie. Rosie and her granddaughter, Louisa, take Diana in for a few days, and Diana vacillates between enjoyment of a jolly situation and her familiar self-criticism. Meantime, Louisa's former-but-not-forgotten boyfriend finds Diana attractive. She proves receptive, infuriating Louisa; and an older man named Sam turns up with a business proposal, assuming that Diana recognizes him—he was best man at her parents' wedding. This is a quick and easy evening's read, but Diana's self-absorption doesn't inspire much empathy. In the film treatment, perhaps Julia Roberts could make this heroine lovable, but it'll be a stretch. Agent, Laura Dail. 11-city author tour; rights sold in Germany, Holland and the U.K. (May 30)

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