Manless in Montclair

Amy Holman Edelman, Author . Crown/Shaye Areheart $22 (244p) ISBN 978-0-307-23695-1

With its roots in a 2004 New York Daily News feature about Edelman (a widow who, with two young girls, was so desperate for a husband that she promised to pay for a dream vacation for whoever found her one), Edelman's debut novel follows Isabel, a part-time publicist living in New Jersey with daughters Sadie and Jenna after the sudden death of husband Michael. To Isabel's surprise, she enjoys the dating game “in spite of the almost constant flow of letdowns, near misses, and largish disappointments,” and promises to underwrite a vacation for whoever introduces her to her future husband. Among the contenders is JDate-find Larry, who warns her that his post–prostate surgery sexual prowess is “like trying to shove a marshmallow into a piggy bank.” Also in the running are a vodka-swilling egomaniac friend-of-a-friend and plenty of other one-offs, but Isabel predictably winds up finding—for free—what she wants. Isabel's adventures in husband-hunting gyrate happily between soap opera and sitcom, and though comedy trumps high drama every time, the bittersweet account of grief and moving-on is a nice counterpoint to fluffy romances. (Nov.)

Reviewed on: 09/17/2007
Release date: 11/01/2007
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