cover image The Guncle Abroad

The Guncle Abroad

Steven Rowley. Putnam, $29 (320p) ISBN 978-0-593-54045-9

The wise-cracking and wisdom-dropping protagonist of The Guncle returns for more adventures in Rowley’s diverting sequel. Patrick O’Hara, a 49-year-old sitcom star, is dreading his widower brother Greg’s second wedding. He’s not the only one—his beloved niece and nephew, Maisie, 14, and Grant, 11, also disapprove of their father’s relationship with Livia, a wealthy Italian marchesa. When Greg pleads for Patrick to take the children for a few weeks before the wedding, Patrick agrees, happy for the distraction from his anxiety about turning 50, which has driven a wedge in his relationship with his younger boyfriend, Emory. At Lake Como for the wedding preparations, Patrick finds a new cause of concern: Livia’s fashionable lesbian sister, Paloma, whom he worries will supplant him in his niece and nephew’s adoration. He also makes a noble attempt to discourage Maisie and Grant from scheming to put a stop to the wedding, where a series of rom-com-worthy unfold. Rowley keeps the retread afloat with Patrick’s biting wit (about the motormouthed Grant, Patrick says to his agent, “He’s what happens when the ventriloquist dies and the dummy keeps talking”). The author’s fans will gobble this up. Agent: Rob Weisbach, Rob Weisbach Creative Management. (May)