Upcoming Titles: 'A Dangerous Age' and 'Dorothy on the Rocks'

by terry mathews - news-telegram arts editor

A Dangerous Age
By Ellen Gilchrist

March 24, 2008 - "A Dangerous Age" was my first Ellen Gilchrist book. It will most likely be my last.

While I'm all for realism and non-Hollywood endings, this story about how the Iraq war impacts the lives of three women left an unpleasant aftertaste. Maybe that's what the author wanted.

Living in the Washington, D.C. area, Winifred Hand has been adrift since her fianc was killed on 9/11. Her cousin Louise meets, beds and marries a young marine, himself a cousin of Winifred's dead fianc.

Just when you think this book is going to center around Winifred and Louise, Gilchrist takes her readers to Tulsa where she introduces us to their black sheep cousin, Olivia, a tough-as-nails newspaper editor who is forced to change her view of the war. She revisits a first love, only to find loss of another kind.

There was something just a bubble off plum about this book. While the writing style is solid, the plot feels incomplete.

Dorothy on the Rocks
By Barbara Suter

I fell in love with Maggie Barlow, the anti-heroine in Barbara Suter's new book, "Dorothy on the Rocks" from the first page.

Maggie is not perfect. Far from it. She's not getting any younger. She drinks too much. She has a lot of men friends. She smokes. She's gained a little weight. She enjoys a special relationship with a true "fairy" godmother.

Maggie lives in New York City. She's an actress whose most recent claim to fame is her starring role as Dorothy from "The Wizard of Oz" in the Little Britches Theatre Company. She's not really having much fun with the role anymore. A youngster in the audience calls her out for smoking on stage. Plus, her costume doesn't fit as well as it once did.

When Maggie wakes up one morning with a young stud muffin whose name she can't remember, she decides it's time to rein in it a bit. Her resolve lasts about 10 minutes.

And, then there's the issue with Maggie's fairy godmother. He pops up at the strangest times. Since no one else can see him, outsiders think Maggie has lost a marble or two.

It's rare that a book makes me laugh out loud, but Suter's crisp style and incisive observations about the human condition tickled the heck outta my funny bone.

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