Friday, January 19, 2018

Amy E. Reichert - Luck, Love and Lemon Pie

When Milwaukee-area wife and mother MJ Boudreaux notices her husband Chris seems more interested in the casino than her, she’s more bothered that she isn’t upset than by her husband’s absence. She picks up poker as a way for them to spend more time together—and reignite their marital flame.
Although the game doesn’t give her the quality time with Chris that she’d hoped, MJ finds she has a knack for it. Increasingly unhappy at home, she turns to the felt top of the poker table for comfort. Intoxicated with newfound freedom, MJ begins spending more time at the gambling tables and less with her family, finally carving out for herself a place outside her role of wife and mother.
After a string of great wins, MJ finds herself in Vegas, attracting the attention of a certain magnetic poker star. But when she’s forced to choose between her family and her new exciting lifestyle, the stakes may be higher than she thought and MJ will have to play her hand carefully…or risk losing it all.

Comment: In 2016 I've read my first book by the author and for me it was a good one, considering I gave it a good grade and I liked the story. 
I had expectations that this other book which I got some time ago, would follow the same steps but I have to agree with most readers who have read it also on GR, this one wasn't as surprising or sweet (unlike its title).

This book presents us MJ, a fifty year old woman, mother of two, with a stable but boring marriage and she does feel things are changing. She and her husband don't seem to connect anymore, they live together, they interact but the spark seems to be gone and MJ wants to do something about it, like going to a casino to play poker since that's what her husband does to relax. However, things don't go as MJ planned and she starts thinking maybe there's no way to make things better. 
The more she plays, the more out of sync with her family she gets and when the chance to play in a tournament arises, MJ registers herself. But will the price be too high for her family life?

While in the other book, the coconut cake seemed to be a huge and necessary part of the plot for some reason, I confess the title's lemon pie was included as practically only an extra and I do miss a more significant impact of food content here. I guess I thought it would be more important than what it was.

The plot is one seen very often in contemporaries: The marriage isn't the same anymore, people are bored, people accommodate to what is routine and what made them fall in love is no longer present so MJ has an escape method, something she initially wanted to share with her husband but the first attempt was a disaster. I guess I can say what made this book more special was how these feelings on inadequacy and restlessness wee portrayed. I bet most people out there, after a while feel the same and they might think there's no way out of the cycle.

Of course, the purpose here wasn't exactly that, the author wanted to show people can be themselves while having other interests but the main focus was more on how MJ would process the fact her family was being put aside for her time spent with new activities. There is some drama, as one could expect, and the way to solve things while not totally predictable, was the path more obvious.

I suppose the aim here is for the reader to learn that communication is essential to a good marriage and that no matter how boring things are, there's always the knowledge that person is there to support you. While I understand people don't always react as they should to every day issues, MJ's decision to play poker seem a bit weird, especially because that was what her husband did and I can't seem to appreciate her let her other responsibilities go over gambling.

I feel a bit disappointed that this book wasn't as charming as the other book I've read. There are no cute scenes nor interesting details about the main characters to make me eager to know what happens to them. I think both MJ and her husband Chris are too stagnant as characters to make the reading about them more stimulating. I would say the characterization wasn't balanced, especially if one thinks about some realistic details.
Something also annoying to me was how MJ kept having flashbacks about this an that. I get it why authors include those but it's extremely annoying to stop the flow of what you're reading to go back in time to something that, no matter what, won't change what happens "now".

All things considered, this book has several not so good elements which made me less interested in reading about these characters. The story itself and most details aren't bad, but together they don't form a captivating story all the time.
I still hope the other book by the author I have is better. 
Grade: 5/10

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