About the Book
Sometimes What Happens In Vegas … Follows You Home.
Peggy Adams is upset when she wakes up next to a strange man after a Vegas night she can’t remember … but she’s horrified when she discovers that she married him! Luke Sedgwick is WASP royalty, the last of the New Nineveh, Connecticut, Sedgwicks. He might also be perfect, if Peggy weren’t already “pre-engaged” to her live-in boyfriend of seven years (she even has a “promise ring” to prove it.) Peggy and Luke agree to get an annulment ASAP – and then receive an offer they can’t refuse …
Luke’s eccentric great-aunt Abigail offers the two the chance to make millions on the family estate: all they have to do is stay married for a year. Peggy is soon pretending to be one-half of the perfect couple among New England’s WASPy set on the weekends, while keeping her marriage a secret during the week. But she isn’t prepared for what might be her worst mistake of all – falling in love with her soon-to-be ex-husband.
Some people may consider this book to be of the chick-lit variety, and I tend to steer clear of most obvious chick-lit type stories. But when I first read about Mating Rituals of the North American WASP I could tell it wouldn’t be the typical fluffy “single girl in the city finds perfect shoes which lead her to find Mr. Perfect, develop good skin and teach her how to become multi-orgasmic”. And I was right, Lauren Lipton has written a light and fun story for women that manages to still captivate the reader with characters who could be taken from real life and who deal with some of the same issues, problems and insecurities as everyone else may at some time or another.
The plot of Mating Rituals of the North American WASP focuses on the romantic and not-so romantic foibles of Peggy and Luke, who’ve found themselves married after a few too many drinks in Las Vegas. Sure not everyone ends up marrying a stranger after partying hard, but everyone’s heard a horror story about a person waking up next to a random guy or girl they hooked up with in a bar. So it’s a common enough storyline, but what makes the difference in this book is that the characters are so damn easy to like. When Peggy and Luke discover they are newlyweds and are presented with an opportunity to make some money from their union, you don’t feel like they are out only for themselves and their own selfish reasons. They each need the money for good, even respectable, things. So if suffering together through a charade will help them, you can’t help but feel for them.
What was especially good about this book is that it shows an excellent use of character and relationship growth throughout. On the surface the faux-couple seem so different from one another, but as their lives become more entwined you start to see how compatible they are as a duo. If they would only stop being such stubborn morons. From both their points of view you are presented with thoughts, feelings, doubts and hopes that are doing them no good kept to themselves – if only they could communicate better, things would start looking up and a lot of misunderstandings could be avoided.
I also enjoyed seeing how each of them viewed themselves in terms of their place in society. Peggy has a hard time because she feels out of place in Luke’s circle, but she also views that circle as being snobbish. At the same time Luke often seems to feel embarrassed of the people who surround him and their supposedly good social manners.
The biggest plus for me in Mating Rituals of the North American WASP was the character of Luke’s aunt Miss Abigail. She’s a 90 odd year old society monarch, who is sweet, but domineering, and seems to know a lot more about what’s really going on. Her feistiness and spunk were both hilarious and tragic and it was always a great time when she made an appearance in the story. Abigail’s inclusion in the book also gave Luke a very human aspect, and I think in the end she had the biggest impact on Peggy and Luke’s future.
There are so many good quotes to be found in this story, but this was one of my favorites, from an early scene in which Peggy first sets eyes on the Historical home she will be sharing with Luke and Miss Abigail:
Balanced high on a ladder in the front yard, a frail figure was sawing branches from an oranging maple.
Peggy’s breath caught in her chest. A low picket fence separated the front yard from the sidewalk, and she hurried through its gate and across the lawn, afraid of startling Miss Abigail off her unsteady perch. Why wasn’t Luke pruning the trees? Really, why wasn’t a Gardner doing it? A house this size would have a gardener.
At the tree, bits of wood rained onto the lawn. Peggy stopped between fallen branches, dodging another that was plummeting to the ground. “Should you be up there? Isn’t this considered strenuous – ”
“Look out below!” Miss Abigail called. Another slender branch dropped near Peggy’s feet. Miss Abigail regarded it with a cold eye and nodded. “That should do for today.” She started down the ladder, disregarding the hand Peggy held out to her, passing Peggy the saw instead. “If Luke asks, our neighbor Mr. Fiorentino chopped off those branches, and I was not on that ladder!”
Mating Rituals of the North American WASP is a book that I would definitely recommend for anyone looking for an enjoyable, light read. It replaces the tired clichés of common chick-lit with smart characters, clever dialogue and glimpses into issues that are much more important in life than clothing, money and careers. Although at times predictable, the story and it’s real-life topics are refreshing and make this book well worth the read.
About The Author
Lauren Lipton is the author of two novels, It's About Your Husband (2006) and Mating Rituals of the North American WASP (2009). She is also a freelance journalist who specializes in style, business and trend stories. ♦♦♦ She is currently fashion, beauty and lifestyle editor at ForbesWoman magazine. She has also contributed features on society and media to the New York Times Sunday Styles section. A former Wall Street Journal staff writer, she reported on copycat brides who steal their friends' wedding ideas, pajama parties for grown women, and luxury homes with his-and-hers garages. ♦♦♦ Her work also has appeared in Conde Nast Portfolio, In Style Weddings, Martha Stewart Weddings, Best Life, Glamour, Marie Claire, Fit Pregnancy and Working Mother, and on National Public Radio's All Things Considered. She began her career at the Los Angeles Times. ♦♦♦ Born in Providence, R.I., Lauren grew up in the North County of San Diego and in Los Gatos, Calif., before moving to Los Angeles. She holds a bachelor's degree in English and anthropology from Occidental College and a master's degree in print journalism from the University of Southern California. ♦♦♦ She lives with her family in New York City and in Litchfield County, Conn.
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