January 30, 2011

Author Interview: MARY LYDON SIMONSEN and a Giveaway

Today I am pleased to welcome Mary Lydon Simonsen, author of the newly published The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, a romantic, fun and joyful tale of how our beloved Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet may have come together if Anne De Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy had played matchmaker, to Psychotic State Book Reviews. She has most graciously answered some questions about her writing, locations for novels and her advice for struggling writers.

Hi Mary, welcome to Psychotic State and thank you for taking the time to chat with me and my readers.

I recently finished The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy and I loved it! In such an oversaturated literary genre, what made you decide to pen your own version of a Darcy and Lizzy story?

MLS: First, may I say how pleased I am to be back at Psychotic State? I love your blog, and it’s the perfect place to wrap up my blog tour. Also, I am so glad you enjoyed my novel. I really value your opinion.  (Note from Lori:  Thank you, Mary!  I am always delighted to welcome you!)

Why did I write my novel? I wanted to tell the story of some of the minor characters in Pride and Prejudice and that is why I chose Anne De Bourgh and Georgiana Darcy to move Lizzy and Darcy’s story forward with humor and understanding.

With their current popularity, did you feel a higher expectation placed on you, taking such beloved characters and rewriting them?

MLS: Whenever you fiddle with Pride and Prejudice, there are always high expectations. I tried to stay faithful to the characters of Elizabeth Bennet and Fitzwilliam Darcy. On the other hand, we know so little about Mr. Darcy’s sister and cousin that it was like being given a blank slate. To mix metaphors, I took the ball and ran with it.

Speaking of Jane Austen, how long have you been a fan of her work?

MLS: I have been a fan since 1969 when I first read Pride and Prejudice in my high school English class. I enjoyed P&P so much that I went on a reading marathon and read all her completed novels, one after the other. We’ve been friends for more than 40 years now.

The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy included a wide assortment of characters from Pride and Prejudice, with wonderful creative license on your part with the character of Louisa Hurst in particular.

MLS: Poor Louisa. Always stuck in the company of her nasty sister, Caroline Bingley. I always thought of her as being a follower, and I thought I would cut her loose and give her some breathing space. Of course, the rascal, Lord Fitzwilliam, gives Louisa the confidence she needs to spread her wings.

Which character did you find most interesting to write and why?

MLS: My original character, Mr. Nesbitt, who becomes Jane’s suitor after she abandons all hope of ever marrying Charles Bingley. In the Northeast, where I grew up, he’s known as a nebbish—socially awkward—always saying and doing the right thing badly. 

Which character was the most difficult for you to express and why?

MLS: I always struggle with Jane. I have five sisters, and believe me, not one of them is as good as Jane Bennet. I know that Jane’s character is Jane Austen’s homage to her sister, Cassandra, but I would have found it difficult to live with someone that good. So I gave Jane an opportunity to vent her frustrations over the cards she had been dealt, and as one reader put it, “grew a backbone.”

How much research went into writing The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy?

MLS: About 40 years. Seriously, I have been reading about the Regency Era for that long. I try to be as faithful to that time as possible. However, dialog tended to be verbose, almost like they were making speeches. My dialog is a lot leaner.

What was the most difficult part of writing a Regency era novel?

MLS: You know that you are going to end up with anachronisms, and you usually find out about them as soon as your novel goes to press. Example: I found out too late that couturier was not a Regency term. I should have used modiste for dressmaker. Oh well!

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

MLS: I’ve tinkered with writing most of my life. I wrote neighborhood newsletters and book reviews and a detailed family history, but I don’t think I ever thought I would publish a novel. It didn’t happen until my mid fifties. (That’s a secret—don’t tell anyone.)

What advice would you consider most valuable to an unpublished author?

MLS: Remember why you started writing. Publishing is a difficult business, so concentrate on the pleasure your writing brings to you. If your story or book gets published, then that’s a bonus.

Besides Jane Austen, are there any other writers that inspire you or that you enjoy reading?

MLS: I love Charles Dickens and Larry McMurtry (Lonesome Dove), master storytellers. When I’m not writing, I read non-fiction, especially about World Wars I and II, but my favorite fiction genre is mysteries, especially those set in Britain, such as Charles Todd and Barbara Cleverly.

What is a normal day in the life of Mary Lydon Simonsen like?

MLS: First thing in the morning, I answer e-mails and fan letters (LOL), and then I get cracking on whatever I am working on for about three hours. Back at it after lunch because my granddaughter will be visiting me at 3:00 as she goes to school in my neighborhood. I may work a little bit at night, but I have gotten away from that as I was neglecting my husband. (I think he noticed I wasn’t in the room with him.) I do a lot of volunteer work through my church and that keeps me busy.

Can you tell us what you’re working on now? Any chance you may be working on another Austen-themed novel?

MLS: I just finished editing Mr. Darcy’s Bite for Sourcebooks (in stores in Fall 2011) which is a major departure for me. In it, Mr. Darcy is a werewolf. Despite the fur coat, our beloved Darcy maintains his humanity, but he must convince Elizabeth that a little thing like canine teeth should not stop them from being together. I also have a book out over the summer, in July, called A Wife for Mr. Darcy.

If you could sit down with Jane Austen and ask her what future she would have written for one of her characters, which character would it be?

MLS: Elinor Dashwood. I would like to think that she was happy with Edward Ferrars, but really, he was so wishy-washy. I could see him hesitating over taking out the trash. Did their marriage work out? I would have the same question for Marianne Dashwood. Did you really fall in love with Col. Brandon or was it gratitude? I anticipate hearing from Sense and Sensibility advocates.

And lastly, if you could use one word to describe The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy, what would it be?

MLS: Witty. Thanks, Lori. This has been such a pleasure. I hope to be back here in July with the release of A Wife for Mr. Darcy.

Thank you so much, Mary, for taking the time to answer my questions and I wish you the best of luck with The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy!  I also look forward to having you back in July with A Wife for Mr. Darcy.  


If the two of them weren’t so stubborn…

It’s obvious to Anne De Bourgh that the lovely Elizabeth Bennet is her brother’s perfect match, but Darcy’s pigheadedness and Elizabeth’s wounded pride are going to keep them both from the loves of their lives.

Georgiana Darcy agrees, and she readily agrees to help her accommodating cousin, Anne de Bourgh, do everything within their power to assure her beloved brother’s happiness.

But the path of matchmaking never runs smoothly…


Mary Lydon Simonsen’s first book, Searching for Pemberley, was acclaimed by Booklist, Publishers Weekly, and RT Book Reviews. She is well loved and widely followed on all the Jane Austen fanfic sites, with tens of thousands of hits and hundreds of reviews whenever she posts. She is also the author of two self-published works: Anne Elliot, A New Beginning and The Second Date, Love Italian-American Style. She lives in Arizona where she is working on her next Jane Austen novel. For more information, please visit http://marysimonsenfanfiction.blogspot.com/ and http://www.austenauthors.com/, where she regularly contributes.


Thanks to the lovely Danielle Jackson at Sourcebooks, I have not one but TWO copies of Mary Lydon Simonsen's The Perfect Bride for Mr. Darcy to give away!  This is a fantastic retelling of Mr. Darcy's and Lizzy's courtship and I encourage you to get lost in Mary's retelling of Pride and Prejudice.  Please check back with me this week as I post my review of this lovely book.

To enter, simply leave me a comment and let me know if you agree with Mary - - is Edward Ferrars wishy washy and would his marriage to Elinor have been successful?  And what about Marianne?  Did she really fall in love with Colonel Brandon or was it simple gratitude? 

Me personally, I am a hopeless romantic at heart and I believe that Marianne found a solid, mature and fulfilling love with Colonel Brandon and that the Brandon marriage was just as successful as the Edward-Elinor marriage (and perhaps Elinor and Edward even loosened up and got a little wild and crazy!)

U.S. and Canada only (my apologies to our overseas friends) and no P.O. boxes.


Contest to end on Sunday, February 13, 2011 at 11:59 P.M. PST and the lucky winners drawn by randomizer.org on Monday, February 14, 2011 (how fitting that it will be Valentine's Day!).

Good luck!

January 23, 2011

Book Review: THE NIGHT SEASON by Chelsea Cain

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  With Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Portland detective Archie Sheridan can finally rest. Meanwhile, the city of Portland is in crisis. Several people have drowned in heavy rains that have flooded the Willamette River. But the medical examiner discovers that in fact the latest victim was poisoned before she went into the water—she didn’t drown. A little detective work shows that so far three of those previously thought to be accidental drownings have actually been murdered. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case. Meanwhile reporter Susan Ward is following up on an entirely separate mystery: the dramatic flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died during catastrophic flooding more than sixty years ago that washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least 15 people.

As Archie follows the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch his killer, he has to battle the rising waters of the Willamette first.

This is the fourth book in author Chelsea Cain's Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan series.  If you haven't read any of the previous books, I suggest you pick them up immediately.  Cain writes with an intoxicating intensity and if you are addicted to thrillers, she will not disappoint.

In The Night Season, devotees of Gretchen Lowell and/or Archie Sheridan will not be let down, despite the relative absence of the sociopathic serial killer Gretchen.  I will admit that initially upon beginning this book, and hearing that Gretchen would be MIA, I felt it would be the weak book in the series and something massive would be missing from the novel.  I was wrong.

The background of the story - - a 1948 flood - - which sets the stage for the present day killer is fascinating and a wonderfully original concept.  It doesn't follow the literary path previously blazed by Cain and in the same fashion, the violence level is much lower and the book itself is less gruesome.   

Earlier books in the series were disturbing mainly due to Gretchen's presence and her cruel need to torture and kill, but The Night Season derives its creepiness not so much from the unknown killer but from Portland's rising waters and the imminent danger it proposed.  In fact, Mother Nature proves to be a far more frightening killer in this book.  I admit to feeling uneasy and unnerved by the potential drowning factor of the book. 

In this respect, Cain is a master storyteller.  She draws you in seductively and completely engrosses you in her tale.  The characters come alive and Portland itself it as much a central character as Archie, Susan and Henry.  Even Gretchen, absent for all intents and purposes, remains a driving force in the book. Archie Sheridan is again the heart and center of the story, a stalwart presence.  Susan Ward, the intrepid reporter was a character that had been borderline annoying for me in Cain's debut novel, is much more focused and relevant to the story. 

The Night Season grabbed me from the first page and refused to let go until I had hungrily read the last word - - and finishing the book was a letdown because I simply didn't want to leave the story behind.  For readers of mysteries and thrillers, I would not hesitate to recommend The Night Season.  If you haven't read the earlier books in the series, have no fear - - The Night Season can be read as a stand alone book with no real knowledge of the first three books.      Be prepared to count the days until Cain's next book - - I know I am.

The Night Season is available for preorder from major booksellers, including Amazon.  It will be released in March, 2011.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.  

For more information on author Chelsea Cain, please visit her website

Review copy of this book provided by Crazy Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

January 9, 2011

Mailbox Monday: January 10, 2011

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the previous week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday, which was started by Marcia at The Printed Page, is on blog tour—and Rose City Reader is hosting during the month of January.

Last week I received A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer from the author for review.

SYNOPSIS:    On the night of the State of the Union address, President James Allaire expects to give the speech of his career. But no one anticipates the terrifying turn of events that forces him to quarantine everyone in the Capitol building. A terrorist group calling itself “Genesis” has unleashed WRX3883, a deadly, highly contagious virus, into the building. No one fully knows the deadly effect of the germ except for the team responsible for its development—a team headed by Allaire, himself. The only one who might be able to help is virologist Griffin Rhodes, currently in solitary confinement in a maximum security federal prison for alleged terrorist acts, including the attempted theft of WRX3883 from the lab where he worked. Rhodes has no idea why he has been arrested, but when Allaire offers to free him in exchange for his help combating the virus, he reluctantly agrees to do what he can to support the government that has imprisoned him without apparent cause.

Meanwhile, every single person in line for presidential succession is trapped inside the Capitol—every person except one: the Director of Homeland Security, who is safely at home in Minnesota, having been selected as the “Designated Survivor” for this event. With enemies both named and unnamed closing in, and the security of the nation at stake, Griff must unravel the mysteries of WRX3883 without violating his pledge as a scientist to use no animal testing in his experiments…and time is running out.

Tense, thrilling, and entirely plausible, A Heartbeat Away will make you reflect, wonder, and be truly afraid.

Publication Date:  February 15, 2011

So that is my short but sweet Mailbox Monday.  What goodies arrived in your mailbox last week?

January 7, 2011

Book Review: THE FRUGALISTA FILES by Natalie McNeal

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Natalie McNeal opened her bills in January 2008 to find that she was a staggering five figures in debt. Young, hip and gainfully (if Dilbert-ly) employed, Natalie loved her lifestyle of regular mani/pedis, daily takeout and nights on the town, but clearly something had to give.

And so The Frugalista Files was born. Through her blog, Natalie confessed her spending habits to the world—and it turns out she wasn't the only one having trouble balancing the budget! From the drastic "no-buy" month that kicked it all off to the career gamble that threatened to put her deeper in the hole, The Frugalista Files shares Natalie's personal and professional transformation from cubicle rat to take-charge career girl.

It's possible to get ahead without giving up on the fabulous life. This is personal finance in peep-toe pumps—the empowering true story of one woman's personal and professional transformation and your guide to living the Frugalista lifestyle.

Article first published as Book Review: The Frugalista Files by Natalie McNeal on Blogcritics.

Given the current state of the economy, Natalie McNeal's The Frugalista Files is a timely book.  Who hasn't struggled with debt and strived to pay it down?   Who hasn't worried about employment and the balance of their savings account? 

In 2008 McNeal found herself over thirty and gainfully employed . . . yet worried about her professional future, with a mountain of debts and an undersized savings account.  What's a single gal to do but start budgeting and blogging!

The Frugalista Files is organized in journal (or blog) entry form.  Each chapter is a month during 2008, which starts off with McNeal's total debts (car loan, credit cards, student loan, etc.)  As you read through the book you will notice her debt slowing coming down, a rewarding feeling even for this reader, much less the ecstatic McNeal. 

I appreciated the way each month was broken down, with the highlights and lowlights - - ranging from unexpected expenses to sitting out on parties to the breakup of her relationship with "Mr. X" to the death of a close friend.  Through it all, McNeal's realistic and down to earth voice and personality emerges. 

By the same token, I found McNeal, at times, a little too down to earth, what with her "giiiiiiiiirlfriends" and "homeys" and "kicking it".  Maybe it's a sign of my age but it made me feel that McNeal sounded less professional, less a mature, capable woman of over thirty and more like a a high schooler. 

Did McNeal educate me in any way about saving that I didn't already know?  Honestly, no.  I was already aware that it's necessary to cut back on eating out, going out and unnecessary purchases (like new blouses, shoes, manicures, etc.).  In that regard, The Frugalista Files is somewhat of a disappointment.  If you're looking for a step by step instruction of how to get on track financially you will quickly note that Suze Orman Natalie McNeal isn't - - but McNeal's breezy, casual writing style makes this a rewarding, if not educational, read. 

If you'd like to read about how one woman turned a hobby about a life choice into a career, and how she learned to love to budget, The Frugalista Files is for you. 

The Frugalista Files is available for purchase now at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

For more information on author Natalie McNeal please visit The Frugalista

Review copy of this book provided by Net Galley in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

January 5, 2011


And the winner of a brand new hardcover edition of A World I Never Made by James LePore is . . .

Moonlight Gleam

Congratulations Moonlight Gleam!  Your edition will also be signed by the author!  I will be emailing you directly for your mailing address. Please respond within 72 hours so that your new book gets out to you timely.

Thank you to all who visited my blog and entered this giveaway. I do appreciate each one of you taking the time to visit and post here.
I hope everyone will stick around for future giveaways, reviews and interviews.

Thank you again to Lou Aronica and The Story Plant for making this giveaway possible.

Compliments to randomizer.org for selecting the lucky winner.

Happy reading!

January 3, 2011

Book Review: DEAD PAN by Gayle Trent

BOOK DESCRIPTION:  For the second time in as many months, Daphne Martin finds herself telling a police officer, “I just delivered the cake.” 

Several people became sick at Brea Ridge Pharmaceuticals’ annual holiday party for its employees, and one–Fred Duncan–died. Fred’s mother insists on Daphne’s help in learning why Fred died; and since none of the food has yet been exonorated, Daphne feels compelled to find out what made everyone so ill. She’s pretty sure it wasn’t her cake, but she can’t be certain until the police complete the lab results. Was this an accident? Or did someone set out to kill Fred?

Article first published as Book Review: Dead Pan by Gayle Trent on Blogcritics.

I am a fan of entertaining and intriguing mysteries and author Gayle Trent does not disappoint with Dead Pan, the second installment in her "cake decorating" series. 

Heroine Daphne Martin returns and is the cake decorator of the series title.  She is spunky, fearless and seemingly in the wrong place at the wrong time, leading her into part-time sleuthing duties after the unfortunate Fred Duncan dies after attending a party that featured one of Daphne's prized cakes.  A party in which a handful of people fall ill after feasting on Daphne's luscious dessert. 

I did not have the luxury of reading the first book in the series, Murder Takes the Cake, but I was easily acquainted with Daphne and her menagerie of family and friends in her town of Brea Ridge, including her disapproving sister Violet, neighbor Belinda and her award winning guinea pigs and Daphne's boyfriend Ben. 

Ms. Trent's writing style is light and breezy, the perfect description of Dead Pan.  It is far and away more entertaining than suspenseful and thrilling; do not expect Agatha Christie or the like.  I figured out "whodunnit" before the big reveal but it did not spoil my overall enjoyment of the book. 

The only downside to Dead Pan might be the excessive cake decorating details.  I found them interesting, if a bit repetitive by the end.  Other readers who care not about cake decorating might find the descriptions tedious.  The baker at heart will appreciate the recipes included in the book.

For diehard mystery fans, Dead Pan might fall short of expectations.  For cozy mystery lovers, Dead Pan should happily fit the bill. 

Dead Pan by Gayle Trent is available for purchase at major booksellers including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.

Review copy of this book provided by Library Thing in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

January 2, 2011


BOOK DESCRIPTION:  Snow is falling, and the clock ticks toward midnight on Christmas Eve while countless children, too excited to sleep, anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus. But in Tim Slover’s deeply charming and utterly thrilling new novel, that’s the end rather than the beginning of the story. In this richly imagined tale of Santa’s origins, the man in full finally emerges. The Christmas Chronicles is at once an action-packed adventure, an inspiring story of commitment and faith, and a moving love story.

It all starts in 1343, when the child Klaus is orphaned and adopted by a craftsmen’s guild. The boy will grow to become a master woodworker with an infectious laugh and an unparalleled gift for making toys. His talent and generosity uniquely equip him to bestow hundreds of gifts on children at Christmas—and to court the delightful Anna, who enters his life on a sleigh driven by the reindeer Dasher and becomes his beloved wife.

Still, all is not snowfall and presents. Klaus will be shadowed by the envious Rolf Eckhof, who will stop at nothing to subvert him. But in the end, Santa’s magic is at last unleashed, flying reindeer come to his aid, and an epic battle between good and evil is waged in the frosty Christmas skies.

By turns enchanting, hair-raising, and inspirational, The Christmas Chronicles is a beguiling tale destined to become a holiday favorite for the ages.

Article first published as Book Review: The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus by Tim Slover on Blogcritics.

I read Tim Slover's The Christmas Chronicles the week of Christmas and found it a charming and enticing tale, perfect for the holidays or any other time of year. 
Most of us know the overall story of Santa Claus and if you are like me, you have watched every Christmas classic around.  But author Tim Slover has taken a new and novel approach to how an orphaned child named Klaus would become a toymaker and distributor beloved by children and adults the world over.  He seamlessly weaves numerous elements of Santa into his work, including Santa's infamous red suit, his jolliness, the elves, the North Pole, the reindeer and even his "stand-ins" working at your local mall, having their photos taken and asking children what they want for Christmas.  One of my favorites was the explanation of how Santa manages to visit every child in the world in one night - - the explanation was completely believable (in the magical Santa sense) and I was utterly delighted by it. 
I quickly and easily read The Christmas Chronicles in one sitting and the book left me feeling warm and satisfied and wanting to curl up next to a roaring fire with a mug of hot cocoa.  The Christmas Chronicles is a "small" book, only coming in at 176 pages but each of those pages is very well spent and will enchant you.  It's a perfect read for adults or for children and would be a marvelous addition to any family's library, creating a fantastic holiday tradition. 
So grab yourself a mug of hot cocoa, curl up by the fire with your child or significant other and share in the joy of Santa Claus and the holiday season. 
The Christmas Chronicles is available for purchase at major booksellers, including Amazon.  I am an Amazon affiliate. If you make a purchase through my link, I will receive a small commission.
Review copy of this book provided by Library Thing in exchange for a fair and honest review. In no way did the provision of the book affect the outcome of my review.

Mailbox Monday: January 3, 2011

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house during the previous week. Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists! Mailbox Monday, which was started by Marcia at The Printed Page, is on blog tour—and Rose City Reader is hosting during the month of January.

Last week I received 13, rue Thérèse by Elena Mauli Shapiro from Hachette Book Group for review.

SYNOPSIS:  American academic Trevor Stratton discovers a box full of artifacts from World War I as he settles into his new office in Paris. The pictures, letters, and objects in the box relate to the life of Louise Brunet, a feisty, charming Frenchwoman who lived through both World Wars.

As Trevor examines and documents the relics the box offers up, he begins to imagine the story of Louise Brunet's life: her love for a cousin who died in the war, her marriage to a man who works for her father, and her attraction to a neighbor in her building at 13 rue Thérèse. The more time he spends with the objects though, the truer his imaginings of Louise's life become, and the more he notices another alluring Frenchwoman: Josianne, his clerk, who planted the box in his office in the first place, and with whom he finds he is falling in love.

Next up, I received The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean from Hachette Book Group for review.

SYNOPSIS:  Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies," and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.

Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life; though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl, before she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit.

While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop?

When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?

And lastly, but not leastly, I received In Office Hours by Lucy Kellaway from Hachette Book Group for review. 

SYNOPSIS:  In Office Hours is the story of Stella and Bella, two intelligent working women who each fall for impossible lovers--at work. Kellaway's keen observations on the way in which affairs move from state to state are a sort of masterclass in office love, bringing to life both the excitement of illicit romance and the ridiculousness of business behavior and language with a sharp sense of humor.

In Office Hours is intelligent, funny, moving and agonizing, but it's also so painfully reconizable to any woman who has ever worked in an office or ever been in love. Kellaway hits a real nerve with her depictions of how people come to get into the emotional messes that we do and then how very difficult it is to get out again.

So there is my New Year's week Mailbox Monday. What goodies arrived in your mailbox last week?

Happy New Year!!