Dunne Books, Sept. 2002,384pp
In London Francesca Kirwan has spent more than half of her forty years contentedly married to Mark. Everything changes when she dropped off her husband at the airport so he can fly to the continent on business. Mark left his cell phone in the car so Francesca parks and enters the terminal to bring it to him. However, she sees Mark kissing a woman. Francesca learns that Mark has been having an affair with Nikki.
She kicks Mark out of their house so he blithely moves in with Nikki. At first Francesca expected Mark to beg her to allow him to return, but he never even plea bargains with her. Francesca begins to fall into a deep depression until her two adult sons and her sister try to help her become as an independent woman. A bit of revenge on her spoiled soiled Mark would sweeten her life immensely.
On the surface, FRANCESCA'S PARTY is like a zillion similar books starring a middle aged woman whose sheltered life crashes around her, but somehow out of the ruins she turns into super-person. Getting past the simplistic assumption that one is a better person following recovery from a traumatic event, readers will find this novel is quite amusing. The key to the story line is the effortlessly shifting of perspective between several characters (not just the title protagonist) so that the audience understands the same event from the different minds' eyes. This technique carried off quite smoothly shows that Patricia Scanlan is a very talented author whom entertains the sub-genre crowd with a strong contemporary character study.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner