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Eileen Goudge: Otherwise Engaged

 

Crescent Blues Book Views Pocket Books (Hardcover), ISBN 0-7434-8318-9

Book: eileen goudge, otherwise engaged
The dust jacket copy reads: "Would you trade places with your best friend if you could?"

My question reads: Would you willingly suspend disbelief through the slightly improbable and seriously Cinderella-ish plot points in Otherwise Engaged?

My answer reads: Yes, if I could enjoy great characterization, a fun read, and a happy-ever-after that brings a smile. If a light, un-taxing, summer read tops your wish list, this book truly fills the bill.

Jessie Holland, New York City single, rising journalist at Savvy magazine, decides to tackle one of life's big questions in print: Can you ever really go home again? Her editor gives her the go-ahead. All Jessie needs to nail down her Pulitzer is for her life-long best friend, Erin Delahanty, to agree to trade places with her. The switch would send Jessie home to Arizona for six months and Erin to New York City for the same length of time.

Married, mother to a teenage daughter, Erin and her husband Skip own a bed and breakfast in an Arizona tourist haven. At first Erin dismisses Jessie's "brilliant idea." But when Skip walks out on her, Erin realizes she needs to get away, experience something new and try to sort out the mess she made of her marriage.

The switch occurs, creating many and varied mishaps along the way. For starters, neither woman realizes the pitfalls inherent in another person's life. Not to mention the painful memories which prompted Jessie's and Erin's life-shaping decisions in the first place.

Otherwise Engaged raises some interesting questions, provides several non-standard answers, and gives a smile or two in the process. Goudge proves, once again, that she writes, plots, and tells a tale with above average talent and skill.

Patricia Lucas White

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