Saturday, July 9, 2016

Susan Elizabeth Phillips - First Lady

The beautiful young widow of the President of the United States thought she was free of the White House, but circumstances have forced her back into the role of the First Lady. Not for long, however, because she's made up her mind to escape -- if only for a few days -- so she can live the life of an ordinary person. All she needs is the perfect disguise...and she's just found it. As an entire nation searches for her, the First Lady teams up with an infuriatingly secretive, quietly seductive stranger and two adorable little orphaned girls in need of a family. And all together they head out across the heartland chasing their own American Dream -- on a wild journey, adventure, and glorious rebirth.

Comment: In keeping up with my trend to read books part of series one month a book, so to speak, this month I've read book #4 in the Wynette, Texas series by author Susan Elizabeth Phillips. I've been eager to read the author's books, there's something about her style that is captivating and that makes one want to read more. As escapism books, her work is amazing and it does allow for fantasies to be believable...

In this book, the central character is Cornelia "Nealy" Case, the former First Lady of the USA. Nealy is a widow and she wants some time for herself, something she so rarely had since she was a child. To have a few days of freedom, she hides from the Service Secret and disguises herself, leaving the White House as an old lady. Then she finds another disguise and finally can travel alone, on her own until she meets Mat Jorik and the two kids traveling with him. They meet because Nealy's car is stolen, as well as her money. To not give up on her days of fun, she accepts their help and travels with them in heir winnebago. What she didn't count on was falling in love with all of them...

I was fascinated by this book because I think anyone would like to have an idea of how important people like presidents live and what their days are like. It adds to interest the fact the presidents of the USA being someone with so much influence that it's just plain curiosity to imagine what would it be like to be in his shoes. Although the main character here is the First Lady, I was interested in seeing how things would develop and I was quite pleased by all the little details the author provided on previous First Ladies, the workings of the White House, how the Secret Service works...I know everything was superficial and there are many books out there that can provide more complete information but just the little details was something interesting for me, especially because it's a reality different from my own country.

As for the plot itself, it was obviously a take on the romance on the road, sort of, but it was incredible. I could empathize with Nealy and her difficulties, lack of privacy, I wouldn't want to imagine a life like that. I liked how she seemed to change by falling in love and finding people to take care of, but this is not so uncommon on romances.
Mat is an interesting character, he's a journalist, he went to the dark side and wrote for tabloids, but he regrets it and as soon as he realizes who Nealy really is he could use it but he's quite fair about the whole thing. I liked his character didn't do something irreversible in that aspect. There is some conflict between them, of course, so  the reunion can feel sweeter, but overall, there is a balance among them.
Another important character is Lucy, which will feature on her own book a few installments ahead. Lucy is a teenager and feels very responsible for her baby sister and wants to find her a home so she pushes Nealy and Mat together. But I liked her and her attempts to do the right thing for her more vulnerable sister.
All characters have some depth I feel is mostly part of the author's talent to write. They are intriguing, not perfect but we feel close to them. Yes, some of their actions feel too easy to accomplish but that's the fantasy part, real life is always tougher to go through.

The way the story is told is very addictive to read. I liked spending time with the characters, knowing what they were doing, what their interests and aims were and why certain situations mattered. Yes, some things can be considered too easy, too fictional, but part of the interest of the book is to have us think about the possibilities, the ways of how he character's lives could work out. There are some more boring moments but most time I was interested and eager to keep reading.
I'm looking for to read more books by the author.
Grade: 8/10

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