September 23, 2013

Braine Reviews: Newton Neighbors by Suzy Duffy

Series: New England Trilogy
Format: Print ARC
Release Date: September 26, 2013
Publisher: The Writer's Coffee Shop
Source: Publisher
Genre: Adult Contemporary | Women's Lit
Crystal Lake—in the suburbs of Newton—is one of the most desirable places to live in Boston, and Newton Neighbors is a romantic comedy about its colorful residents just trying to “live the dream.” Things, however, rarely go as planned. The story starts with two fire trucks and a couple of cop cars getting called to the upmarket road, and that’s when things begin to heat up.

The Ladies of the Lake:
Maria’s best asset has always been her hot Puerto Rican body, but she sees the effect a new sitter has on her husband, so she decides to fight back the hands of time.

Cathi is Maria’s best friend and greatest admirer. Her own life is pretty good, too. Still, she can’t help being consumed with ambitions to live on the water. She spirals from persuasion to coercion to deceit faster than you can say ‘change of address,’ but will she succeed?

Noreen may seem like the nice little granny from next door. However, it’s the quiet ones you need to watch. While facing forty is a nightmare for Maria, Noreen’s living large at eighty. She believes “the only thing worse than a weak dollar is a weak martini.”

Jessica is in America to study. But when she takes a babysitting job in Newton, she gets more than she bargains for in the shape of fine-looking firefighter. We learn soon enough that not all heroes are good—but is bad better?

Thankfully we have Ely, Jessica’s crazy roommate, who keeps everyone laughing and partying, too.

There’s Botox, Bollinger, and a randy Bulldog. We have fireworks, fistfights, and family fiestas. It’s a story that stretches from Boston, to London, to beautiful Puerto Rico.
Welcome to the wet n’ wild world of Newton Neighbors.

Some might say that Chick-Lit is a dead genre or it's the the most popular thing to read these days. I say that's subjective. I for one still love reading stories about fun, hilarious and strong women. I find the stories relatable even with mild exaggerations, the tropes easy to get acclimated with and usually it's light with a sprinkling of karma to make the conflict-resolution pop and satisfying. 

NEWTON NEIGHBORS by Suzy Duffy might be considered Chick-Lit but minus the heavy bubble-gum flair. It's more of a Women's Literature kind of thing because New England trilogy two, like it's predecessor Wellesley Wives, features the different faces of women and how we find strength in vulnerability. In NEWTON NEIGHBORS we have a housewife, a socialite wannabe, two college girls and a octogenarian who's as wise as she is fun and easygoing. Each have their own story to tell and each story revolves around family and relationships.

The subplots in NEWTON NEIGHBORS is entertaining and engaging. Maria is the lead in the story, she's a housewife who's marriage is under a lot of strain starting with her own insecurities. After having her second child, she's very body conscious and this affected the level of intimacy she has with her husband which resulted to fights and alienation due to sexual frustration. Cathi, her bestfriend, is so bent on moving into the posh Newton street and would do ANYTHING for status even if it means risking their financial stability. These two reminded me a lot of my TV guilty pleasure, The Real Housewives, because these two can be selfish, self-centered and superficial drama queens. The only difference is they were able to shake it off but there's a lot that of craziness that happened first before they had their enlightenment. The good thing they didn't have to commit felony to keep up with their lifestyle unlike their TV counterparts.

College buds, Jessie and Ely has to be my favorite and I wish they have their own novel or even a novella because their storylines are ripe for NA. As expected, their troubles lie in the romance department. Jessie is from England pursuing a Masters degree under scholarship. She got involved with a hot and a very married firefighter which devastated her. There were red flags that should've clued her in that her lover is not 100% available but her loneliness caught up with her which had her acting impulsive. Ely on the other had is a rich Southern Belle but growing up entitled and privileged gave her the Peter Pan mentality until motherhood came knocking on her door. There's a lot of tears and soul-searching that happened between these two and even if theirs is one of the many stories in NEWTON NEIGHBORS SDuffy still managed to flesh it out really, really well.

Noreen, the quirky, forgetful, octogenarian neighbors is the comedic relief. Being so old she's seen it all and have nuggets of wisdom she throws in once in a while but nobody takes her seriously. She reminds me of Betty White and how clearly she's still exuberant about her life and still acts like she's 40 years younger.

NEWTON NEIGHBORS is a great read, SDuffy wrote women who are multi-dimensional they're both lovable and annoying in their follies. Their paths to their own redemption might have been presented under kinder light still it stressed that dusting oneself off and getting back on our feet far outweighs falling down. 

Chapter One
Sitting Pretty

“Hubba-hubba!” Rick said, making Maria smile.
She still knew how to work her charms—hands on hips, subtle breath in
through parted lips to elevate bust, chin raised, head tilted. She could do it all in a microsecond but make it look natural.
Tonight she was wearing a brand new, figure hugging scarlet-red dress with a plunging neckline. “You like?” She pouted for extra effect.
Rick crossed the room in three strides. “Baby, you’re still my weapon of mass seduction.” His voice had dropped an octave already. Blood was on the move. Damn.
Maria pushed against his chest as he wrapped his arms around her, because she knew where this was going. “Ricky, I was looking for your approval, not sex. Look, Cody’s downstairs, the sitter’s due here any moment, and we don’t have time.”
“Oh, come on.” He kissed her neck and nuzzled into her long, wavy hair, but she pushed him away.
“What if your son walks in?”
“We can lock the door?”
Maria tried to laugh it off, knowing it was her fault for giving him the
“No! You grab a bottle of wine for the party and I’ll check on the baby.”
She walked away without giving him a chance to argue. Everything she had said was correct—they didn’t have time for sex—but that wasn’t why she’d pushed him away. The truth was she had a secret. If Ricky thought she was a weapon of mass seduction, it was because Maria had upgraded her ammunition.
It looked like a gymnast’s leotard, but it was made by NASA and the ad had promised to reduce her waist by at least two inches. The fact it took fifteen minutes to squeeze into and she had no idea how long before she might asphyxiate was academic. Maria was thrilled with the result. She looked like her old self, with curves hauled back into the right position, and that was all that mattered. But there was no way she was showing it to Ricky. The plan was to wear it to the party, look amazing, and then when they got home, she would peel it off in the bathroom before he ever saw. Easy but spontaneous seductions were not part of the agenda.
Alice’s room was across the hall from hers, and the door was already ajar. Maria tiptoed in her room because her little girl was a light sleeper. Who knew two children could be so different? she thought, admiring her perfect little girl. With her eyes closed and gorgeous little body so still, it was hard to believe she was such a fussy baby. Alice was difficult to keep happy. She seemed to be either whining or crying all the time. Maria had brought her to three different doctors, but they had each said the same thing—Alice was a healthy little ten-month-old.
Cody was ten years old now, but Maria still remembered how mellow he had been as a baby. All she had to do was look at him and he smiled. No matter what she tried with Alice, the baby cried. It had been a very tough ten months, but none of that mattered tonight. Alice was asleep, and Maria and Ricky were going out for a good night with friends.
“Maria?” Ricky called her from downstairs. Alice stirred and Maria froze.
“Shhh, honey, shhh. Don’t wake up.” She rested her hand on the baby’s stomach to try to lull her back to sleep. “Good girl.”
“Maria!” he shouted even louder. This time she ran out of the room and closed the baby’s door quietly.
Maria bent over the banister rail and whisper-shouted to her husband. “Ricky, keep it down. You know Alice is asleep.”
He walked to the bottom step of the stairs. “Damn. I’m sorry. Look, do you want to call the sitter? She’s real late.”
The dreaded sound of a baby starting to cry filled the landing.
“Now look what you’ve done!” Maria glared at her husband, kicked off her stilettos, and went back into Alice’s room. She knew she would be pacing the nursery floor for the next hour. It was no place for three-inch heels.
Rick was annoyed with himself for shouting up the stairs and even more so that the sitter was late. What kind of first impression was that? Then the doorbell rang.
His son and the dog sprinted to answer it.
“Cody, you wanna get that?”
Rick was joking, because there was really no way to outrun the ten-year-
old. Cody was going through the first-to-be-everywhere phase. To add to the chaos, the Labrador started another of her barking frenzies.
“Quiet, Orga!” Rick yelled at the dog, but it didn’t do any good. He could still hear Alice wailing, and her protests were getting louder not softer. The ruckus downstairs would only unsettle her more.
Damn. He headed for the kitchen to grab a bottle of something to bring to the party. The sooner they got out the better. They needed a break.
Cody had been sulking around the house all afternoon, telling everybody who would listen that he was too old for a sitter. He claimed some of his friends didn’t even have sitters anymore, but when Rick had talked it over with him, it turned out it was the ones with older sisters. Cody had eventually decided if any of his friends found out, he’d say his mom got the sitter for his little sister. Rick agreed that was a great idea.
Rick decided to bring a bottle of champagne to the party because it was a birthday celebration and it might earn him some brownie points with Maria. Then he headed back to the hall to meet the new sitter.
The first thing Rick saw was Cody smiling and the sitter laughing at something his son had said. She was gorgeous. Long blond hair, big eyes, striking features. Rick had met many sitters over the ten years of his son’s life. They had been a normal mix of pretty, plain, fun, dull, but this one was a real beauty. She could have been modeling instead of watching kids.
He pushed the notion out of his mind. “Hi,” he said, his voice a little too jovial. Take it down a notch. “I see you’ve met Cody already.”
The dog was still barking.
“Orga, be quiet.” The hound started sniffing the newcomer instead. He moved the champagne bottle to his left hand so he could shake with his right. “I’m Rick, Cody’s dad.”
“Hullo, I’m Jessica Armstrong.” Her smile was timid, cute. “And I’ve met Cody and Orga.”
Rick felt uncomfortable and his face was hot. Was he blushing? He wondered if that was even physically possible. Wasn’t there an age limit on blushing? The last time he’d glowed this hot, he was in the fourth grade and Judi Schillawaski had—without any warning—kissed him.
This girl was more beautiful than Judi Schillawaski.
“Maria’s upstairs with Alice. She just woke up.” Rick winced when the baby let out another wail. “You might need to play with her for a while. Alice, I mean. You might have to play with Alice, the baby, not Maria, my wife.”
Just stop talking, you idiot!
Jessica laughed. “I’m the eldest of five and love babies, so really, I’m happy to play with Alice.” She glanced at Cody who was surreptitiously studying her. “And I love playing with big boys, too,” she said.
Now it was Cody’s turn to blush. He turned away. If it hadn’t been for his own discomfort, Rick might have felt sorry for the boy. He had clearly spotted that the new sitter was a beauty. The kid was growing up.
Orga started barking again.
“Cody, will you put that damn dog out in the backyard? I’m sorry,
Jessica. She gets excited, but she’ll calm down in a few minutes. It’s just because you’re new.”
“Not a problem. Honest, I love dogs, too.”
With the boy gone, they were alone, and Rick felt his body tense. What in the hell was his problem? He was usually good with meeting new people. This one was different.
“Let me show you around,” he said, but the words felt awkward. Until this evening, the sitters had been little more than kids themselves. He’d never felt wrong-footed or goofy like he did now. Get a grip, he chastised himself, and then he gave best his corporate smile. “I’m thinking that’s an English accent?”
“Yes. I’m English, from a town called Dorking, in Surrey. It’s just south of London.”
“Yeah? My wife, Maria, is from Puerto Rico.” Why did I say that? Act normal, you ass! “What are you doing in Newton?”
“I’m over here for a year. Studying at Wiswall College.”
“Oh, that’s cool. It’s just down the road.”
“Yes, it is. I’m so sorry I was a little late this evening. I got lost, but I
assure you, Mr. Sanchez, it won’t happen again. That is, if you want me back.”
“Please, call me Rick.”
Jessica had enormous dark blue eyes which seemed bigger now that she looked anxious. He got the urge to reach out, but that would have been ridiculous. Inappropriate. Against the law?
He laughed louder than he meant to. “No problem about being late. We’re pretty relaxed in this house. If you keep the kids content, Maria and I will be more than happy.” They walked into the living room.
“Oh, an Xbox.” Jessica grinned at Cody, who was back from putting the dog out. “How good are you on this thing? Because I have to warn you, I’m an ace.” She winked at the ten-year-old. Cody’s eyes lit up, and he lunged for the controls.
“You’ve just secured a place in my son’s heart, Jessica. Xbox is his life. If you’re as good as him, he’ll never want another sitter.”
She sat down next to Cody and took the other controller. Then she glanced at Rick. “Call me Jessie.”
He nodded. There was a time when something like this—seeing an incredibly good-looking woman—would have fired him up. Rick would have had all the witty one-liners, all the charm he required, but time had softened him. Eleven years of marriage, two kids, and the fact he spent more time at the country club than the nightclub all meant he’d lost his edge. How could he have let that happen?
Rick watched the two of them settle onto the sofa. Seeing the gorgeous young sitter with the game controller was a reminder that he was ancient in comparison. She had more in common with Cody than with him.
Lucky kid.
Rick and Maria were heading out to yet another fortieth party, but the stunning blonde on his living room sofa made him think it would be a lot more fun to stay in than head out.
Would you get a grip? You could almost be her dad—almost.
Maria was at her wit’s end. How could he have shouted up the stairs like that? Was he absolutely brain-dead? With an hour’s sleep, Alice was sufficiently rested for a big-time tantrum.
She tried to soothe her back to sleep but that didn’t work. So Maria scooped up her daughter and paced the floor in the darkened nursery. Alice was a strong-willed baby, however. She wouldn’t stop until Maria switched on the bedroom light. For a moment it looked like that worked. Then the doorbell rang and Orga started barking, and the child knew something was going on downstairs. Alice wailed even louder, huge sobs racking her little body.
Then it happened.
Maria wasn’t quick enough, and Alice off-loaded her full nighttime bottle of milk—now semi-curdled—over Maria’s cleavage and new dress. The warm, wet liquid soaked through the cocktail dress and secret underwear onto her skin. It appeared even NASA technology was no protection against baby puke.
Maria called down the stairs for help, but everyone was out of earshot. Eventually she gave up, stomped back into the nursery, and peeled off both Alice’s clothing and her own. She gave herself and the baby a quick wipe down with a damp cloth and then got Alice into a new pink onesie. The baby cried the entire time, and Maria wondered why her husband didn’t bother to come up and help. He was always better at soothing their little girl. Maria had a dark suspicion her daughter simply preferred Ricky to her. Even Cody seemed to have a way with his little sister. Sometimes when she cried and Maria couldn’t stop it, her ten-year-old boy would take over and soothe Alice with ease.
Maria was tempted to cancel the night. It was Ricky’s fault. If he hadn’t shouted, Alice would still be asleep. She took the little screamer into her bedroom and let the baby bawl on her bed for a minute while she wiped herself down again. Maria tried to sniff her own skin and didn’t smell any baby puke, so she threw on her old black party dress, scooped up the still- screaming Alice, and headed down the stairs.
Naturally enough, as soon as Alice saw they were going down to where all the action was, she stopped crying. It was so damn frustrating. Maria prayed the new sitter would be good with babies. Stopping in the kitchen, she picked up a fresh bottle of formula and then followed the sounds of laughter into the living room. Cody was yelling death threats already, so she knew he was playing his precious Xbox, and Rick was shouting encouragement at the seventy-two-inch flat screen. The level of excitement in the room was at a fever pitch.
“Hi,” Maria said as she walked in the room. Then she saw her sitter. Wow, she thought. In all the years she’d been hiring sitters, she’d never had such a pretty one. Maria stopped and looked at Cody sitting right beside her on the sofa and Rick hovering next to them. Her men sure seemed to like the new girl. She scowled. Was that why her husband hadn’t heard her?
Jessie hit the pause button on her controller as soon as Cody jumped to the next level in his game, and then she jumped to her feet. “Hullo there,” she said, but her focus was on Alice not Maria. The baby looked mildly interested as the sitter slowly approached.
“Maria, this is Jessica—Jessie—our new sitter,” Rick said. “She’s from England and she’s the eldest of five. She likes dogs, too.”
This much information annoyed her. “Didn’t you hear me calling you?”
Rick looked blank. “No. It must have been when I was walking Jessie around the house. You okay? You’ve changed your dress.”
“Alice vomited all over me.”
“Poor you. How awful,” Jessie said. “Do you think the baby is sick?” Maria appreciated the sympathy but said, “No, I don’t think so. She was
settled for the night, but somebody shouted up the stairs and woke her.” She glared at her husband. “Alice here was crying so hard she made herself sick. She does that sometimes.”
Jessie stood next to mother and baby and stroked Alice’s tiny fingers. She talked in a gentle, higher pitched voice—cooing and gurgling at the baby. It worked. Alice started to gurgle back.
“May I?” She gestured to Maria, putting her hands out to take the baby. Maria wasn’t so sure.
“She’s in a foul mood this evening.” But even as Maria said it, she could feel Alice’s body shift. The baby leaned toward Jessie, wanting to get into the new girl’s arms.
Maria felt a tiny stab of jealousy but suppressed it and let the sitter take her daughter. It was a seamless handover. Alice looked highly amused by the ridiculous noises the newcomer was making.
“I think I’ll let you ladies talk,” Rick said and left the room.
Jessie sat beside Cody and bounced Alice gently on her lap, which gave Maria a chance to sit and really study the new girl. Her long blond hair was scooped in a loose clasp, but a few spiral tendrils had escaped and fell around her face in soft waves. Her skin was very fair, and she wore almost no makeup, perhaps just a little pink on her cheeks. Or was that natural? There was a glow to her skin—the glow of youth, Maria thought, starting to feel frumpy and a million years old.
Jessie spoke to Cody. “Will you help me with your little sister? You’ll be able to tell me where I go to change her nappy and show me where her crib is?”
Cody dropped his remote on the sofa and began gently banging the leg of the table with his foot. Maria knew what he was doing—it was just enough to show that he was fed up but not so much that she would get mad. Her boy was obviously upset that he’d lost his Xbox partner thanks to his sister’s intrusion.
“I don’t know what a nappy is,” he grumbled, clearly not wanting to cooperate.
“Oh, I’m sorry. I think I mean diaper,” Jessie said. “Look, as soon as she’s down, I’ll challenge you to a rematch and we’ll play for the whole night. What do you think?”
Cody glanced up at her, grinned, and then ran out of the room. Maria was impressed because she knew how hard it was to keep two children happy. Not bad for a girl who had been in the house twenty minutes—if that.
“Alice started on formula last month, so here’s one.” She put the bottle on the table next to them. “And there’s more in the fridge if you need it, but I don’t think you will.”
“Would you like me to heat the bottle before I give it to her?” Jessie asked.
“No, she’s used to it cold,” Maria said. The girl knew a thing or two about babies, she realized. “So you have little brothers and sisters?”
Jessie nodded but continued playing with Alice. “There are four more at home—two boys and two girls, all younger than me. In fact the youngest is only eight, so he’s younger than Cody. His name is Tristan.”
“And you’re British?”
She nodded again. “I’m studying here for a year.”
“What’s your major?”
“Psychology. I’m doing my master’s.”
“Wonderful. You can help me figure out what makes my two tick. What aspect of psychology are you doing your master’s in?”
Jessie’s eyes brightened. “Emotion regulation and interpersonal competence in romantic relationships.”
“Oh.” Maria felt awkward now. “Anything else?” She was joking, but it seemed Jessie thought she meant it.
“Well,” she said, “I also have an interest in the role of the family
environment on a person’s emotional development.”
Cody picked that precise moment to skip back into the room balancing
the toaster on his head. “Mom, can Todd and I go toasting later?”
Maria glanced at the sitter. “You came to the right house if you want crazy family environments.” She rolled her eyes. “Cody get that toaster off your head!” She wondered if Jessie could see through her and her happyfamily fa├žade.
“What’s toasting?” Jessie asked Cody.
“You don’t know what toasting is?” Cody’s tone was condescending. “It’s ghosting but with burnt toast.”
She smiled, all the time stroking Alice’s little back. “Okay, you’ll have totell me what ghosting is.”
“Don’t tell me you don’t know what ghosting is? Everybody has that.” He plonked the toaster on the coffee table.
Jessie shook her head. “I don’t think we have it in the UK.”
“Cody, you’re making a huge mess. Crumbs everywhere. Put that thing back in the kitchen.” Maria stood up and put her hands on her hips in annoyance.
He picked up the toaster, balanced it back on top of his head, and made for the door. “No ghosting? Jeez,” he said.
Maria watched her boy leave the room and then sat back down. “You could as easily have said you didn’t have electricity. He wasn’t impressed. Ghosting is a Halloween thing. It’s kind of a nice idea. The kids put a note on a friend’s doorstep telling them they’ve been ghosted, and they leave a little bag of candy.”
The boy bounced back into the room, without the toaster this time. “It has to be anonymous,” he said.
“Oh, Cody. Good job! That was one of your list words from school this week. Well used.” Maria meant it as a compliment, but then she saw her son flush and realized too late that she had embarrassed him in front of the pretty new sitter.
“So you don’t write your name on the note?” Jessie asked. Maria studied the younger girl. Was she oblivious to Maria’s mistake or smoothing things over? She couldn’t tell, and that unsettled her even more.
Cody moved on. “No way, and you have to do it when it gets dark. You put the note and the candy on their doorstep without anybody seeing you. Then you ring their doorbell and run as fast as you can. If you do it right, you can hide and watch them open the door to get the candy. It’s cool.”
Maria sighed. “Yes, we’ve had a lot of visits this year, but the problem is Orga gets overexcited and now she’s barking at everybody.”
“Okay, I’ll keep an eye out for that.”
Then Cody jumped up. “But I want to do toasting with Todd—not ghosting.”
The sitter smiled at his enthusiasm. “Now what’s that?”
“Well, you see everybody expects candy when they’re ghosted, so it’s sick to give them burnt toast instead and see how mad they get when they open their bags.”
“It’s not very nice.” Maria pretended to look stern, but she wasn’t annoyed at all. In fact, she was relieved to see Alice was still content. The baby seemed very happy with Jessie. It was amazing how fast she’d calmed down. Jessie seemed to have Cody and Ricky’s talent for keeping the baby happy. What was their secret?
“Aw, Mom.” In a heartbeat, Cody was back to looking miserable. “Can I just do Mitch Jackson’s house? He did us last night.”
“Mitch is a boy who lives a few houses down the road at number thirteen. He’s a seventh grader, so he’s a little older than Cody,” she told Jessie.
“He’s a bit mean to Cody sometimes.”
The sitter gave an understanding nod.
Maria looked at her son. “Tell you what—if Todd’s mom says it’s all
right, I’m okay with both of you toasting Mitch Jackson. But nobody else. Promise?”
Cody punched the air with his hand. “Score!” he yelled, frightening Alice a little, but Jessie was on it and upped her cooing for a moment.
“Just Mitch, right?”
“Yeah, yeah. I have to call Todd.” He ran out of the room again. “Adios!” he yelled as he disappeared down the hall.
“Is your little brother as energetic as he is?” Maria asked.
“Tristan? He sure is.” Jessie smiled. “And the others are worse.”
“Are they away from home, too?”
The girl shook her head. “No. I’m the first. The next one down is doing
her A levels this year, so she’ll head to college next autumn.”
“That’s tough on your parents. Education is expensive.”
“It’s not as bad in the UK as it is here, and I’m on a scholarship. My mum
couldn’t afford to pay Wiswall fees. My dad is deceased.” “Oh, I’m sorry.”
Jessie shrugged.
Rick reappeared at the door to the living room.
“Ready to go, honey?” He looked at Maria. She nodded and stood.
“Well, you seem more than capable of handling things here. I’ve left both our numbers next to the phone in the kitchen, although I know you have mine already. I’ll have my cell with me all night, and we should be home around midnight. All right?”
The sitter stood up and shifted Alice to her hip with the fluency and ease of a young mom.
“That’s fine. I do have your number, but I’ll save Rick’s in my phone, too, so we’re doubly covered. Have a good night.”
“Don’t come out to the door with us. It’ll upset the baby,” Maria said, although she didn’t think her daughter looked too sad anymore.
Rick reached over and stroked her arm. “Are you aware Cody is on the phone calling Todd? I overheard him asking his partner-in-crime to come over so they can toast Mitch Jackson together.”
Maria rolled her eyes. “You know what, if it amuses him and makes Jessie’s job a little easier, I say go for it.”
Jessie was studying Alice and playing with her tiny hand. “I think we’re okay coming out to the door with you.”
It irked Maria that the girl was overriding her authority, and what’s more, she seemed so damn capable with Alice. She knew that was crazy, because it was great to have a good sitter. Maria and Rick got their coats from the closet while Jessie focused on keeping Alice happy.
“By the way,” Maria said, “I turned on the house alarm but left the front door off the system. That way the boys can come and go, and you’ll be able to answer it if you get ghosted.”
Jessie nodded. “Have a smashing night,” she said.
Maria smiled. “Your British accent’s really cute.”
Jessie looked a little embarrassed. “I do feel a bit conspicuous. I keep using words I assumed were normal over here, but they’re not.”
“Gimme an example,” Rick said.
“Oh, let me think. Fortnight caused some confusion when I started school.”
“I know what a fortnight is,” he said, looking proud. “It’s fourteen nights—two weeks. So Wednesday fortnight would be the Wednesday two weeks from next. Am I right?”
Jessie smiled and nodded. “My roommate didn’t know what I was talking about.”
“American English and English English—they’re not the same language, are they?” Rick asked.
She shook her head. “Definitely not, but we get by.”
Maria kissed Alice on the cheek and shouted a good-bye to her son, who was more interested in his phone call than seeing his parents off. “See you around midnight.”
Rick took Maria by the arm when they were walking to their car. “She seems cool.”
“She’s very pretty.”
“A pretty sitter, sitting pretty with our precious little babies.” Rick had a habit of making up marketing jingles on the spot because it was part of his job, but Maria was in no mood for them just then.
Maria looked at her husband. It was getting dark, but she could still see his face. “She’s very beautiful, isn’t she?”
“Is she? I hadn’t noticed.”
She elbowed her husband. “Rick, you would have to be blind not to notice.”

Purchase Newton Neighbors

Suzy Duffy is an international and #1 best-selling author. She writes laugh-out-loud, life-affirming stories about women from five to ninety-five. (Sometimes she writes about men too, but only for comedic purposes, and pets—if they’re funny.) Her debut US novel, Wellesley Wives became an instant best seller, won numerous awards and critical acclaim, and is due to be published in Norwegian, September 2013. She was a guest speaker at the Sydney Writer’s Festival.

Newton Neighbors, her second US novel, will be published September 2013.

Other than this, Suzy was a national radio DJ and television presenter in Ireland before she started writing. She has also been an interpreter in the United Nations, Geneva, a water ski instructor in Crete, and a corn cutter in the south of France—from which she was fired!

She gives 10% of her royalties to WWW.FOBH.ORG because she believes in serendipity. (A serendipitist?) She plans to write a book a year for the next forty years, and then she’ll have a rethink.

Link up with Suzy

Tour organized by The Writers Coffee Shop


  1. I do not watch Real Housewives, great giveaway!

  2. I enjoy this genre, and easily relate to the sassy, diverse and strong woman. I adore these covers..they are too cute. I love how different the woman are, so glad you enjoyed this! I have never watched real housewives..I am so not a fan of any reality tv. :)

    1. You're healthier and saner for not watching TRH and reality TV for that matter. keep it up!

  3. I really enjoy Women's Fiction. I don't think I ever stopped. Thanks for bringing this series to my attention. It seems like one I'll enjoy!

    1. It's light, it's nothing like the contemporary romance you usually read. It can be a little silly, I call books like these palate cleansers or in-between readers. Good way to avoid genre fatigue.

  4. I've only read a couple of books in the chick lit genre, but I really like the sound of this one. So much fun & really you can't pass of strong women.

    1. I think that's why I can't get enough of chick-lit. It's the attitude of the characters, they're strong and fall but the focus is on getting back on your feet and how much stronger they are after the speed bumps.

  5. I don't read much chick list, but when I do I tend to really like it. I'm not sure why I don't pick it up more often. This sounds like a great guilty pleasure read!

  6. Oh that actually sounds really good. I don't read it often anymore but have enjoyed quite a few. Thanks for doing a review on this one. I would have completely skipped over it because of the cover otherwise!

    1. I'll never grow tired of chick-lit, this genre is so totally my guilty pleasure right now.

  7. Replies
    1. Good for you! Those shows are so addictive but it also dumbed me down LOL

  8. I love me some chick lit, Braine! ;) This sounds like a fun read that is also very relatable. Thanks for bringing this series to my attention.

    1. I'll never get tired of chick lit. It's my go to and very relaxing for me to read.

  9. Yes, I like most of the different housewives series from most of the different cities. My favorite is the HW of Atlanta and I absolutely adore Kim and I miss her dearly and my my 2nd fav is same series, Nene. She has really matured well and is truly a self-made woman.

    Crystal Guidroz

    1. Damn her wedding mini-series is whacked! Nene is an amazon


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