cover image Otherwise Engaged

Otherwise Engaged

Lindsey J. Palmer. Skyhorse, $24.99 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5107-3239-1

Palmer (Pretty in Ink) sustains a heady level of emotional tension throughout her novel of love and ex-lovers. Thirty-year-old Molly Stone, a successful human resources associate in New York City, has been waiting for her boyfriend, Gabe Dover, to propose. When it finally happens, she’s blissfully happy—until Gabe’s book about his ex-girlfriend Talia is published and becomes popular. The sexy and flirtatious Talia reinserts herself into Gabe’s life and baits Molly, who’s learning that her lack of trust in Gabe might reach beyond the apparent rekindling of the relationship revealed in his novel. Molly’s friends attempt to help her through her doubts about Gabe and encourage her to resist new interactions with her ex from high school, Charlie Ashbury. Curiosity about who Molly will choose—if anyone—turns the pages as much as the other elements of her life, whether it’s her connections with friends or her psychological and emotional drama—her disconnection from her own sense of strength, her emotional stability, and eventually, her job. Love, jealousy, and friendship are explored in well-crafted prose that is sometimes bright and sassy, at other times maudlin. Nevertheless, this novel is fun and consistently satisfying. (Jan.)