cover image Francesca's Party

Francesca's Party

Patricia Scanlan. Thomas Dunne Books, $24.95 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-312-30172-9

Crowd-pleasing Irish import Francesca's Party is the latest from Patricia Scanlan (City Girl; Finishing Touches). When Francesca Kirwan drops her husband, Mark, off at the airport, he forgets his cell phone; she goes to return it, only to find him kissing svelte young Nikki. The narrative moves back and forth between spineless Mark and spunky Francesca, focusing on the latter, who gradually begins to find solace in her independence and eventually strength and happiness. Family members, like Francesca's unsympathetic mother and devoted teenaged sons, provide as much friction as support. The dialogue is crisp and intelligent, and there are plenty of amusing scenes, including a showdown between Francesca and ""cheeky little tart"" Nikki, that will have readers cheering for the modest heroine. Scanlan shows that living well is indeed the best revenge.