cover image The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives

The Secret Lives of Fortunate Wives

Sarah Strohmeyer, . . Dutton, $23.95 (349pp) ISBN 978-0-525-94909-1

Strohmeyer (Bubbles Unbound ) delivers a tart-tongued if predictable tale of sex outside the city. Newlywed and former reporter Claire Stark may have once braved battle-ravaged Bosnia, but nothing could prepare her for warfare among the wealthy in Hunting Hills, Ohio, where she and her bookish stockbroker husband, John Harding, move after their whirlwind romance. The ravishing but socially awkward redhead from West Virginia must learn to navigate a landscape populated by 21st-century Stepford wives who think nothing of slipping between the sheets with the husbands of their best friends. Claire thinks she's found an ally in Marti Denton, who's willing to show her the ropes (Hunting Hills wives have rules to live by, after all, including "Remember that the more you buy, the more your husband values you!"). But Marti, whose marriage is on the rocks, has an agenda of her own. Betrayal, indiscretions and white-collar crime suffuse this sly offering from Agatha Award–winner Strohmeyer, who renders a wry cast of characters, from silicone-pumped, amphetamine-addicted social climber Lisa to Joriko, a half-Japanese, half-Swedish personal trainer with curious healing gifts. This is wicked, frothy fun, even if the ending is a bit over-the-top. Life may be steamy in the metropolis, but it's just as bawdy in the burbs. Agent, Heather Schroder . (Oct.)