The Girls of Mischief Bay
In the scenic port town of Mischief Bay, California, nestled between Redondo Beach and Hermosa Beach, we meet three very different women.
Thirty-year-old Nicole is struggling to manage her Pilates studio and her young son, while still being supportive of her husband --- literally and figuratively. When Eric quits his job to write a screenplay, Nicole tries to support his dream. But it’s been almost a year, and she hasn’t seen a page, though the bills keep piling up. Shannon is a 40-year-old business dynamo who has always paid more attention to her meteoric career than her personal life. But as she enters her 40s, she wonders if she’d be able to give it all up for a family. Pam, at 50, is the wise matriarch of this group of friends who converged at Nicole’s Pilates studio. Married to John, her high school sweetheart for over 30 years, and with three grown children, life is entering a new phase and she wants to make the most of it.
Just as Shakespeare famously commented about the course of true love never running smoothly, the same could be said of modern life in general. Just when you think you have it all under control, life throws you a curveball. Nicole begins to sense a change in her husband. Is he growing away from her and their son, Tyler, or just deeply immersed in writing? And if he’s so involved in his writing, why hasn’t he shared a single page with her or even asked her opinion? Nicole tries her best to maintain a stable environment for her young son but is afraid that she’s juggling too much. As Pam wisely tells her, “Balance is never easy. I’m not sure it’s possible… We pay attention to different things at different times in our lives. Sometimes we get it right and sometimes we don’t…. Everything happens when we’re not paying attention.”
"Once again, Susan Mallery has created an inviting world that envelops her readers’ senses and sensibilities.... Fans of Jodi Picoult, Debbie Macomber and Elin Hilderbrand will assuredly fall for THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY..."
All-business Shannon’s neatly ordered life is thrown into disarray when she meets handsome Adam, a divorced father of two, who makes her start to reconsider her priorities. Could she forget about bad-boy Quinn, the exciting man from her past who crops up only for a quick hook-up and is just as quickly gone again? Could she carve time out of her busy work schedule to make room for someone else and his children? Perhaps she has been going about this relationship stuff all wrong. Maybe dating someone like Adam is the intelligent, adult thing to do. Perhaps she’s ready for that next step --- and even a little further down the road, maybe she’d even be ready for a baby of her own.
After 30 years of a stable marriage, Pam fears that she and John have grown stale and boring. In an effort to shake up their marriage, she undertakes all sorts of endeavors to liven up their humdrum love life, including attending a couples’ weekend where the panels are mostly about sprucing up your sex life. Rather than flee in mock horror, Pam and John surprise themselves by being open to new experiences. The result is that their once-staid marriage becomes “vigorous” enough to give a newlywed couple a run for their money. As they enter this new phase in their relationship, Pam is dealt a crippling blow as she endures a loss so great, her world is shattered: “The phone rang. Pam ignored it. She didn’t want to take any calls, didn’t want to hear the platitudes. Time did not heal. The gray skies were not going to turn blue. She wouldn’t find closure. What the hell was closure? How could there be closure? ...(she) knew that nothing was ever going to be the same again.”
Each woman has to face her own challenges, but luckily not alone. All three know they have one another’s love and support.
Once again, Susan Mallery has created an inviting world that envelops her readers’ senses and sensibilities. It’s not just a tale of how true friendship can lift you up, but also how change is an integral part of life: “Just when you least expected it, you had to start over. There was pain in that, but also satisfaction. With or without wanting to, life moved on. And she would, too.” Each character is put through her paces, but with the support of good friends, they learn to soldier on. Fans of Jodi Picoult, Debbie Macomber and Elin Hilderbrand will assuredly fall for THE GIRLS OF MISCHIEF BAY, as Mallery deftly upholds what Audrey Hepburn once said: “The best thing to hold onto in life is each other.”
Reviewed by Bronwyn Miller on February 26, 2015