Nothing scares Tessa King more than the thought she will never have children. It doesn’t matter how good her life is, and it is, it never feels good enough. She has four godchildren and dozens of friends, yet love eludes her. She knows how good a mother she could be, if only she had the chance. And then one terrible day she does, and Tessa learns firsthand that life on the other side of that white picket fence is more complicated than she ever could have imagined.
Heartwarming, funny, and genuine, The Godmother speaks to anyone who has wondered about the next step and reminds us that happily-ever-after is just the beginning of the story.
I picked up this book after circling it in the bookstore for months. It features some of my favorite themes: not-so-spectacular singledom, London, huge life changes and enduring friendship. It is the last, that enduring friendship, that made this book special.
Tessa King is a likeable enough character. She thinks she’s had enough of the single life and wants to settle down. All of her friends have entered that next stage of life: marriage, marriage with kids, and single parenthood. After a scary few months of being stalked by her boss, Tessa takes off for a much-needed vacation in India and returns with the feeling that her life is missing something. That “something” she concludes, must be children and a man to have them with. Or is it?
Tessa’s world revolves around her friends and her friends’ children to whom she is godmother. She spends most of the book floundering about trying to figure out who she wants to be and resolutely ignoring the real problems her friends face. They say she has the perfect life, but to Tessa, the perfect life consists of what her friends have. She only scratches at the surface of their lives (as they do to her). It takes a series of crises, involving her friends, for Tessa to really see her friends’ lives for what they are. And when she does, Tessa begins to question what she really wants. She has a few false starts – mostly an ill-fated almost-affair with her married best friend but thankfully pulls back from the edge just before she falls.
At the end of the book I was left with the vague feeling that Tessa really hasn’t learned what she wants and there are lessons waiting to be taught. However, Ms. Adams’ next book, The Stepmother, features the continuing adventures of Tessa. Let’s hope she finds what she is looking for.
Things I Liked
~ I like Al and Claudia’s role in the book: the measure to which Tessa wants to be. I also liked that the obvious solution, the easy way out, wasn’t taken by these two.
~ I enjoyed the writing style. The book read easily and I found it hard to put down. Ms. Adams is heavy on the foreshadowing which I enjoy.
Things I Didn’t Like
~ I wasn’t so keen on Ben, Tessa’s best friend with whom she has some romantic history. I felt he took advantage of her friendship and Tessa let him.
Rating: B (could be higher if I am satisfied with Tessa at the end of The Stepmother)
~ Published ~ 2007
~ Price ~ Trade $14.95
~ Next Out ~ The Stepmother (March 2009)