When I read contemporary fiction, I seem to gravitate toward novels that resemble Bridget Jones’ Diary. I just love that British chick lit, where the heroine is a socially awkward, unlucky in love English twenty-something who gets everything she desires by the last paragraph.  And by the time I get to that last paragraph, I’m usually smiling from ear to ear. No wonder I keep coming back for more. This book, The Goddess Rules, by Clare Naylor (a new author for me) is no exception.

The Goddess Rules is the story of Kate Disney, a painter who does commissioned portraits of household pets.  Recently turned twenty-nine, she’s mired in a relationship with Jake, her boyfriend of three years, who has yet to learn not to take Kate for granted. When Kate finally has enough and breaks up with him, he realizes, too late, in fact,  he can’t live without her.  What he doesn’t realize is that Kate has procured a new client, mentor and friend, sixty year old former French actress turned animal activist, Mirabelle Moncur. Mirri teaches Kate how to value herself and to live, just a little, outside her comfort zone.  The lessons work for a short while and Kate starts to see she deserves better than Jake.  When Louis Alcott, a contemporary artist and friend from college, confesses his long-hidden love for her, Kate begins to see him in a totally different light. Just when we think Kate has finally broken free, she’s pulled back into old patterns and can’t quite make the leap of faith that may lead her to the love of her life.  This theme is mirrored in Mirabelle’s story, as she debates whether a first and only love from her past is worth revisiting.

Written with wry humor and a sense of nostalgia for the past,  Clare Naylor weaves a tale of first love and second chances. There were lines in this book that simply resonated with me, enough so that I was nodding my head enthusiastically when I read them.  I love when that happens! I’m looking forward to my next novel by this author.

That smile at the end of the last paragraph is quite addicting.

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