I am a huge fan of Kathleen Tessaro. I read "Elegance" a few years ago, and it completely changed my life. I went on a binge fest reading as many traditional books on etiquette from the 20s, 30s and 40s as I could lay my hands on. It was also because of this book I became obsessed with stationary!
"Innocence" was really hard to come by as I couldn't order it or find it in stores then a few months ago I miraculously found it on the shelf in a charity store in Oxford! It is only now that I am reading it. Firstly, it's not her best. However, it is still brilliant. It is a bit like Sophie Kinsella's "Twenties Girls" but I would venture to say better. It has a level of maturity in it. It's not just a chic lit story there is something more to it.
It is the story of Evie, a single mum from Ohio living in London in a lodging house teaching drama. The house is owned by Bunny and is full of budding artists. The unhappy story of Evie and her failure is interplayed with the story of her youth: the tragic romance that led to the birth of her son, her best friend whose suicide which lays deep within Evie's failure to reach her dreams, and the career she could have had. As Evie sits at a mid-point in her life that could see her gain a promotion and a much needed romance the ghost of her best friend Robbie appears and gives her a much needed kick up to butt.
The book is well written. The characters and plot line are compelling. However, it falls just a little flat there isn't that pull to read on. I don't know why but that is how it felt: - maybe it is the fact that the book is teaching not just entertaining. There is that unhappy twinge to it, but it is very lifelike. There is a great level of truth and humanity to it which is really great. A definite read, but you need to come to it prepared for not your regular chic lit 'la-di-da' story. There is a meatiness to it.