Judith Ryan Hendricks, Author . Morrow $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-06-018895-5

The First Wives Club acquires a junior member in this pleasant if unremarkable first novel. When 31-year-old Wynter Morrison finds herself locked out of her house by her handsome, spoiled husband, David, who has taken up with a beautiful blonde, she is devastated. With only three years' experience teaching high school, one year in real estate sales and seven years experience as the "Executive Wife" and "Charming Hostess," Wyn has little success fending for herself at first, but a growing self-awareness emerges slowly once she leaves her old lifestyle in Los Angeles. After visiting a friend in Seattle, Wyn moves there to take a job at a local bakery. No longer dependent on David, Wyn finds solace in living a spartan existence and working hard in the early morning hours baking bread, though she is frustrated by the unimaginative veteran baker. Her memories of a year abroad in Toulouse during her sophomore year at UCLA where she learned to bake bread in a family bakery are sprinkled throughout the story, as are her favorite bread recipes. Over the course of this long, convoluted tale, Wyn transforms from a "willfully ignorant," betrayed wife living in sunny L.A. whose greatest worry is what to wear to the next symphony ball, to a flannel shirt–wearing bakery owner living in the rainy Northwest who finds love with a bartender-turned-writer. In this engaging novel, Hendricks creates a compelling narrator whose wry, bemused and ultimately wise voice hooks the reader. Even though Wyn's story is predictable at times, this is a well-written, imaginative debut. Agent, Deborah Schneider. (July 10)

Reviewed on: 06/25/2001
Release date: 07/01/2001
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-06-008440-0
Hardcover - 494 pages - 978-1-58724-171-0
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