By Jane L. Rosen
She had yet to utter a word of any of this to her parents or her sister or to any of her old friends. When she did, she knew there would be no turning back. For now, she felt seen and heard and known by these three women, even though she hadn’t known them for longer than the hot minute it took for her life to unravel before her eyes, before their eyes. At that moment they were quite miraculously enough.
I really enjoyed Jane Rosen’s book Nine Women, One Dress so I picked this one up on a whim. Or rather I downloaded it from the library on a whim, to be accurate. I really didn’t have a lot of hope for it for some reason because, for me, Nine Women had kind of a one-hit-wonder aura about it. A lot of the appeal for me had to do with the nostalgic timeless old New York feel it had and the old-fashioned plot. Well, I loved this one even more. It really benefitted from the reduced cast of characters and the connection and friendship forged between them. The sisterhood is powerful and all that. The characters in the former book were only connected by a black dress.
The story follows 4 women in an affluent bedroom community in the New York suburbs. 2 of them are city girls and new arrivals. Allison is a new single mother and a high-powered lawyer. Olivia is also a new mother whose marriage and perfect life are about to be derailed. Another, Amanda, is a Hollywood wife fleeing scandal by returning home with her two teenage daughters in tow. Eliza is the linchpin: a long-time wife and mother in the community who runs the neighborhood online community chat page. She has agoraphobia and no one knows. I didn’t love Eliza. I found myself contemptuous of her choices and thus could not drum up a lot of compassion for her even when the cause of her mental illness is revealed at the climax of the book.
Readers of Nine Women, One Dress might remember Allison, a friend of Andy, a main character in that book. Andy plays a good-sized role in Eliza Starts a Rumor and a little black dress is mentioned as well. I was invested and cared about the journeys of 3 of the 4 women. And even though I didn’t like Eliza’s choices, I was happy for her satisfying conclusion as well.
March 14, 2021