Unlike the life of our gorgeous heroine, Vivian “Viv” Franklin, in Alice Clayton’s Screwdrivered, mine is, let’s face it, the kind most normal people have — sometimes my only accomplishments are managing other people’s (non)emergencies and moving things from my inbox to someone else’s.
So what you ask, Dear Reader, does my ennui have to do with Alice Clayton’s newest installment of the Cocktail series?
Funny, fast, and flirty, Screwdrivered is the perfect antidote, a quick inoculation of optimism and enthusiasm against suburban sameness.
Surrounded by a loving family, Viv lives a preposterously successful life as a software entrepreneur in Philadelphia. The worst thing in her life is her mother’s bad habit of setting her up with boring blind dates. When Viv gets a late-night phone call saying Aunt Maude is dead and Viv’s inherited it all, she chucks over work, family, and her cool industrial apartment to charge out to Mendocino, California, to see what’s what.
What’s what isn’t what it was, however.
Viv’s taken aback by the state of the house she once loved, and things are complicated by the arrival of not one, but two, yummy men. Like the confirmed romance novel junkie she is, she’s torn between a hunkalicous cowboy and a quiet librarian.
In fast-moving, funny scenes, Viv is constantly on the go and getting herself into things, and I swear I lost weight myself by the end of the book (bonus!). Screwdrivered has enough conflict to keep the story moving, but no death (except Aunt Maude), no destruction (except parts of the house), and no dismemberment (except, alas, the Knight, poor guy). Along the way, old friends Simon and Caroline Parker pop by, and we meet some great new friends as well.
From the crashing Pacific waves that send bracing early-morning sea air through the freshly laundered curtains of Seaside Cottage to the warm glow of Mendocino and new friendships, it was great to pretend for a little while I was somewhere else, doing something else, being (with!) someone else.
And that’s worth a lot frankly.
Screwdrivered by Alice Clayton (Gallery Books | ISBN 9781476766720 | September 2, 2014)