The Good Luck Girls of Shipwreck Lane

The Good Luck Girls Of Shipwreck LaneThe Good Luck Girls Of Shipwreck Lane
by Kelly Harms
Rating: ★★★½
isbn: 9781250011381
Publication Date: January 1, 2013
Pages: 290
Genre: Fiction
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books

The HomeSweetHome Network has just announced this year's lucky winner of a brand-new, fully loaded dream home: Janine Brown of Cedar Falls, Iowa.

For Janine "Janey" Brown, hearing her name called on the TV has the hallmarks of one of her aunt Midge's harebrained plans designed to bring Janey into a world outside the one she once shared with her fiance. Janey, however, is reluctant to give up the safety and sanctity she finds in her tiny kitchen, submerging her anxiety and grief in the pursuit of the perfect pot-au-feu.

Meanwhile, across town, Janine "Nean" Brown just knows that this house is her destiny. Good fortune took its sweet time showing up in her life, but better late than never. And now that it's here, the house promises an escape from the latest in her revolving door of crappy jobs and drunk boyfriends. This house will turn her into someone the world sees, instead of the bedraggled girl who others look past without a thought.

Both Janine Browns head for Christmas Cove, Maine, to claim the prize they both rightfully think is theirs. When their lives and personalities intersect, however, they discover that more than just a million-dollar dream home awaits them at the water's edge. These three women (oh yes, Aunt Midge comes along for the ride ) arrive at their newfound mansion only to uncover what exactly it means to truly be "home."


 

This is one of those books that I almost didn’t make it through, but picked up considerably towards the end and made the effort worthwhile.

It’s a gross over-simplification, but I don’t like anti-heroes, or any characterisation that comes close to such a definition.  One of the Janine Brown’s that make up the main characters of this book is a drifter, which in and of itself isn’t any problem.  She starts off strong, in my book, when she knocks her abusive boyfriend unconscious with a coffee mug.  But then she proceeds to lie, cheat, steal and string along the ‘other’ Janine Brown and her Great-aunt, and I don’t really care why or how sad her story is (and it is, by the way).  I don’t care that I know that the trope virtually requires that the character is going to regret their actions, and find redemption, either.  I just don’t like the trope, so I was pretty close to DNF’ing this one, but inertia, if nothing else, kept me reading it.

I still have problems with the premise as it relates to the above, and I was left dissatisfied with the weak explanations for why the ‘other’ Janine Brown retreated so completely into dysfunctional shyness after the death of her fiancé, but Great-aunt Midge managed to pull it altogether and make the story into something far more interesting and touching.  The men were … meh.  Necessary, I suppose but not central to the plot; this is definitely a story of a friendship forged under unusual circumstances.

Better than I expected, but not as good as the other book of hers I’ve read, The Matchmakers of Minnow Bay.

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