cover image Shoulder Season

Shoulder Season

Christina Clancy. St. Martin’s, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-23963-1

Clancy (The Second Home) delivers an engaging if overheated story of a woman’s trajectory from naive Midwesterner to Playboy Bunny, and, eventually, a new life in California. In 1981, recently orphaned Sherri Taylor, at 19, is hired to work at the Lake Geneva Playboy Club Resort, near her home of East Troy, Wis. Sherri quickly loses her innocence (by choice) and enters a world where cocaine and diet pills are the norm. An object of desire by guys who turn her off, she eventually encounters two men who steal her heart—one from California, another closer to home—and a heartbreaking accident forces Sherri to reevaluate her life and her friendships. She then drives to Los Angeles, where her luck begins to run out, but as the reader knows from a prologue set in the present day, things will turn out just fine. Despite some over-the-top melodrama, Clancy offers an entertaining behind-the-scenes view of the Lake Geneva resort, where wholesome, fresh-off-the-farm young women wear stiletto heels and skimpy costumes adorned with bunny tails and bunny ears, live in restricted dorms, and must adhere to rules about maintaining their weight and not mixing with customers. It’s not the most memorable tale, but it’s worth taking to the beach. (July)