Genre: Women’s Fiction
“Jemima Stone is tortured by the disappearance of her schizophrenic fiancé, Gerald. She seeks refuge from her pain by feeding the homeless.
When he is found murdered in a city three thousand miles from home, Jemima finds salvation in the arms of the detective who has obsessed over her case for four years, and redemption by reuniting one of her homeless friends with the family he thought he'd lost.”
“From nine to five, Julie Frayn is a mild mannered accountant. But the rest of the time, her writer alter-ego comes to life. When she isn’t counting beans or making things up in her head, she is mother to the two most perfect adults on the planet. She isn’t biased, just observant. When they were younger, they were perfect muses for silly poetry about smashed peas and birds with gastroenteritis.”
Jemima Stone, Jem for short, is one those characters I found myself caring about almost immediately. She isn’t without faults (who among us is?), but she also has a way of taking a negative and turning it positive, which is a quality we could all emulate. An example of this is her obsession with finding her fiancé, Gerald, who disappeared. When she spotted a man that looked like him apparently living among the homeless in a park, she took to preparing and delivering food to the homeless in this park each morning. While initially this was with the hope of finding Gerald, it quickly became more about helping those in need and continued after he was found murdered in another city.
In addition to the main storyline, finding out and coming to terms with what happened to Gerald and why he left like he did, there are secondary story threads which are no less compelling. The changing relationship with the police detective who was investigating Gerald’s disappearance is one. Another is Jem’s work with the homeless, especially one man who she goes above and beyond in finding out his story and trying to help.
Some adult language.
The author is Canadian and uses her native spelling conventions which are a mix of US and UK spellings. There is at least one, possibly more uses of Canadian slang. The one I noticed, twonie (although the spelling I've seen is toonie), is the slang for the Canadian two dollar coin and understandable in context for those not familiar with the term.
Added for Reprise Review: It Isn't Cheating if He's Dead by Julie Frayn was the WINNER in the Chick-Lit/Women's Fiction category for B&P 2014 Readers' Choice Awards. Original review ran February 25, 2014.
No significant proofing or copy editing issues. There are a handful of occurrences of an invalid character that I suspect happened as part of the formatting or a file conversion process, but not enough to be a concern.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: BigAl
Approximate word count: 60-65,000 words