by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Not sure what book I was thinking of when I gave this Susan Elizabeth Phillips novel only 3 stars on Goodreads. Must have been another book. It is not only a 5, but one of my favorites. I listened to this on Audible this time, and it is at least my 3rd go-round with this one. I’ll have to rely on my memory for this review.
Besides being very very funny, I loved the characters. Both the two main characters and the hilarious, maddening, and crazy residents of Wynette Texas. The two main characters are Ted and Meg. Ted is Ted Beaudine, the only son of Francesca and Dallas Beaudine first introduced in Fancy Pants, one of SEP’s first books, and the one that started the Chronicles of Wynette. Meg is Meg Koranda, daughter of Fleur Savagar and Jake Koranda of her third novel and first contemporary, Glitter Baby. If I started talking about Meg and Ted’s parents it would go on and on but suffice it to say that all 4 of them are forces of nature and legendary in the SEP universe. Francesca and Dallie have significant roles in this novel, and the Korandas make a brief but spectacular and welcome cameo appearance. When they appeared on the scene I actually whooped.
Meg is funny, smart, good-hearted, brave, and something of a screw-up in her own eyes. She has always struggled to measure up to her fabulous parents and her brothers, knew she never could, so has never tried. She spends her glamorous life traveling around the world on her parents’ money, having daring adventures and lots of fun, but she feels like she doesn’t really fit in anywhere. Ted is just the opposite. He is a paragon of perfection. Birds start singing when he appears on the scene, and rays of light seem to follow him around. I have to say that this whimsical trait S.E.P. gives him was genius on her part. (Meg finds it “creepy”.)He is adored and worshipped in Wynette where he solves everyone’s problems and never fails at anything he does.
“He sounds like Jesus. Except rich and sexy.”
“Watch it, Meg. In this town joking about Jesus could get you shot. You’ve never seen so many of the faithful who’re armed.”
Plus he’s a genius and uses his powers for good. And he’s humble. And he’s marrying the perfect woman, Lucy Jorik, of First Lady and daughter of Cornelia Jorik, ex-president of the United States. She’s perfect but we still like her. SEP’s next book, The Great Escape, is Lucy’s story and runs concurrently with this one. Meg, her best friend and maid of honor, senses there is something very wrong behind all this perfection. And when good-girl Lucy ditches Ted at the altar, all eyes turn to Meg. She is blamed by everybody, even Ted and Lucy’s parents. To make matters worse, Meg’s loving parents in a burst of tough love have finally cut her off and she has no money with which to skedaddle out of Wynette and all of the torches and pitchforks gathering at the Wynette Country Inn. The story of how Meg not only survives being destitute, hated, and treated like dirt, but finally starts to fit in, thrive, and find her self-esteem is as entertaining as hell. But strangely, I found Ted’s journey even more fascinating and well-crafted. Meg sees through him almost immediately and understands that behind all that goodness lies a lot of fear. Is there anything behind that emotionally controlled mask?
The answer is yes.
3 stars (???) bumped up to 5.