A guest review by Becca Rowan
Three professional women living in New York City, navigating the trials and tribulations of career problems, relationship disasters, and the expectations of high society, while re-inventing their lives in meaningful and often surprising ways – what could be more different from the life of this reader, a middle aged woman from the suburbs of Detroit?
Absolutely nothing. That’s exactly why Mercury in Retrograde was so much fun to read. Paula Froehlich’s novel spirited me away from my hum-drum existence into the world inhabited by Penelope Mercury, Lena Lippencrass, and Dana Gluck, three very different women who find their way to friendship during the astrological period of Mercury in “retrograde,” a time when “if something can go wrong, it will.”
Things definitely go wrong for these three women – at least initially. Penelope, an enterprising investigative reporter, is fired from her job after one spectacularly disastrous day which ends with her boss’ office going up in flames. On the other side of town, wealthy socialite Lena falls out of favor with her parents, and they rescind not only her credit cards but her duplex in the West Village, leaving her no choice but to (gasp!) earn her own living. Meanwhile, workaholic attorney Dana has been holed up in her apartment, licking her wounds (and lots of ice cream cones!) following a nasty divorce. The stars align to bring these three together as neighbors, allies, and finally as friends, while they go about the process of creating their new and improved lives.
Mercury in Retrograde is funny and clever, with characters who quickly engage the reader’s heart. Paula Froelich (deputy editor of The New York Post’s Page Six section) is obviously familiar with the life of a working woman in today’s Manhattan, and her bird’s eye view is hilarious and witty. But Mercury in Retrograde is also a story about friendships, about overcoming adversity, and about being open to new opportunities wherever they might occur. These themes are meaningful for women of all ages, whether you’re a stylish young New Yorker or even a slightly stodgy Midwesterner.
Becca Rowan is a reader, writer, and musician who divides her time between the (stodgy) suburbs of Detroit, Michigan and the (stylish) environs of Naples, Florida.