For Better, for Worse

For Better, for Worse

4.1 26
by Carole Matthews
     
 

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After her marriage to Damien ended in disaster, Londoner Josie Flynn — thirtysomething and single again — is flying across the ocean to her American cousin's "big mistake" wedding. In her present "love stinks" frame of mind, the last person she expects to be seated next to on the flight is someone like Matt Jarvis. A recently divorced rock journalist,

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Overview

After her marriage to Damien ended in disaster, Londoner Josie Flynn — thirtysomething and single again — is flying across the ocean to her American cousin's "big mistake" wedding. In her present "love stinks" frame of mind, the last person she expects to be seated next to on the flight is someone like Matt Jarvis. A recently divorced rock journalist, Matt is sensitive, good-looking, and remarkably attentive — and before their plane touches down, Josie's smitten. So how can she hope to convince her cousin to cut and run when Josie is all ready to leap into love again — with a stranger, no less, who might be just another Mr. Totally Wrong in Mr. Seductively Right's clothing?

The point is rendered moot, of course, once they deplane and she and Matt go their separate ways. After all, Josie's got prenuptial confabs to worry about and that dreaded lilac chiffon bridesmaid's dress to wear. But Dante himself couldn't have dreamed up the hell this wedding is proving to be — and when her dream hunk reappears and throws himself into the mix, Josie finds herself wondering how she — or any unattached modern woman, in fact — can hope to survive the new romantic rules of the twenty-first century.

Already a bestseller in the U.K., Carole Matthews's For Better, for Worse is a deliriously droll, dead-on tale of marriage, sex, monogamy, and modern love.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Josephine Josie Flynn is a latter-day Bridget Jones, but without the cuteness, the sardonic humor or the wry introspection that made Ms. Jones so lovable (and her story so profitable). In this novel by bestselling English author Matthews, Josie is newly single and en route from London to her American cousin's wedding in New York, when she meets Matt Jarvis, an aspiring rock journalist who captures her attention and asks for a date as soon as their plane touches down. When they just miss each other at the appointed restaurant, madness ensues as Josie's ex-husband decides to jet to the wedding to win her back, and Matt becomes entangled with a publicist for a regrettable boy band, which covers the Beatles but doesn't even know who they were. There are moments of comedy and others of introspection in Matthews's book about the single life and how singletons strive to overcome their lot (often, it seems, by attending weddings, even ones to which they haven't been invited). Despite some humorous inventions (such as the Conversation Termination Sequence, an escape hatch from endless phone calls with her bodily functions$obsessed mother) and melancholy revelations ( somehow she was going to have to let the barriers down again, otherwise no one would ever get inside her protective shell to find the real Josie hiding there ), Matthews mostly fails to mine a deeper meaning from the characters and situations she creates as she entertains her readers with serendipitous trysts and near-misses. Still, Josie, unlike Bridget, never carps about her weight, and for that women readers can be thankful. (May) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
The cute journalist sitting next to her on the flight from London to New York is exactly what Josie Flynn needs to take her mind off her cheating ex-husband and her mother's I-told-you-so's. When he shares his own divorce story, buys her a drink, and invites her to dinner in New York, she feels pretty smug about the way her life is looking up. Then he doesn't show for the date, the wedding Josie is attending turns into a fiasco, and her ex-husband flies in from London to try to charm her back. And that doesn't include what happens to the cute guy when he tries to track her down in New York with no more information than a bride's first name. British author Matthews makes her American debut with this light, funny novel. A natural for the beach, it will charm Bridget Jones fans on both sides of the Atlantic; film rights have already been sold. Patrons will want to be first in line to read this one. Recommended for all public libraries. Kim Uden Rutter, Lake Villa Dist. Lib., IL Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Screwball comedy about a duck, a diamond ring, and a mixed-up wedding. Josie Flynn is a bit cynical about happily-ever-after, having just dumped her philandering husband Damien, who's been shagging the office tart, it seems. But going to New York for her cousin's wedding is a way to forget about him for a while. On the flight, she meets Matt, a scruffy but charming rock journalist. They meet again at the Statue of Liberty-and make a dinner date. Later, however, Matt has a few drinks with the pretty publicity flack for the untalented boy band he's profiling, forgets about the time, and stands Josie up. Miffed, she heads for cousin Martha's house and throws herself into beautifying rituals and a little therapeutic shopping. Matt checks out every bridal consultant in the phone book, beginning with A (Martha's consultant starts with Z, of course) and ends up at the wrong nuptials, in the passionate grip of a little old Jewish lady. Meanwhile, Damien sees the error of his ways, buys an enormous diamond ring, and hops a plane. Several equally obnoxious New York taxi drivers somehow get everyone to the church on time but-oh, no!-Martha and the best man are caught having sex atop the hors d'oeuvres only minutes after the vows. Damien, searching desperately for Josie, drops the ring near a picturesque pond, where it's promptly gobbled by a hungry mallard. How to get it back? Laxatives, forcibly administered. Damien, naturally, is in a state by the time he catches up with Josie, who wants nothing to do with him, thinking instead of Matt. Damien leaves for the airport in a huff, an indignant duck stuffed in his valise, and Matt, who's arrived at the right wedding at last, can't believe his goodluck. And customs officials can't believe Damien's duck-or story. But so it goes in this cheeky romp from a bestselling Britisher with a great sense of fun.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780380820443
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
04/28/2002
Edition description:
FIRST U.S
Pages:
352
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.79(d)

Meet the Author

Carole Matthews worked as a secretary for six years before retraining as a Beauty Therapist. She approached Britain's Central Television with suggestions for a beauty programme and went on to write and develop a health-based magazine series called Look Good, Feel Great. After leaving Central Television, Carole worked in a holistic clinic in Milton Keyes, England and wrote freelance articles. She wrote her first fiction in 1995 — a short story that won the Writers News competition. She used the money to fund a writing course where she met her first literary agent. The rest, as they say, it history.

Already a best-selling author in England, Carole Matthews makes her American debut with For Better, For Worse, a book Kirkus Reviews calls "a cheeky romp from a best-selling Brit with a great sense of fun." The book, which has been optioned by Pandemonium Films, tells the story of recently divorced 30-something Londoner Josie Flynn. As her marriage ends in disaster, Josie flies across the ocean to her American cousin's "big mistake" wedding. Soured on love and in no rush to meet anyone, she ends up sitting next to Matt Jarvis — a recently divorced rock journalist who she becomes smitten with before the plane touches down. But alas, they go their separate ways. After all, Josie's got prenuptial confabs to worry about and that dreaded lilac chiffon bridesmaid's dress to wear. But Dante himself couldn't have dreamed up the hell this wedding is proving to be. Josie finds herself wondering how she — or any unattached modern woman, in fact — can hope to survive the new romantic rules of the twenty-first century.

For Better, For Worse was recently chosen as the fourth book club selection of the phenomenally successful Reading with Ripa book club on the nationally syndicated morning show, "Live with Regis & Kelly". "It's a big five points for humour," said co-host Kelly Ripa. "Live with Regis and Kelly" started the Reading with Ripa book club in April 2002. Ripa's previous three picks have all landed on the New York Times bestseller list.

Carole Matthews is a self-proclaimed evening class-aholic. So far she has studied garden design, golf, calligraphy, feng shui, stencilling, style analysis, watercolour painting, flower arranging, kiln glass, mosaics, stained glass and wire sculpture (to name a few!) She also runs day courses on 'Getting Your Novel Published' for Bedfordshire Adult Ed. Carole is also mad about films and of course, reading! She reads 1-2 books every week and is currently trying her hand at film scripts. Carole says she is eager to write more books(bestsellers, of course), more sitcom and maybe a comedy drama. She would also like to see the world, laugh a lot, stay healthy and eventually become wealthy and wise.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

"I still think about you." There was a pause during which Josie presumed she was supposed to say something. "A lot," Damien added when she didn't.

Josie closed her eyes, marveling at the red splotches inside the lids, and sighed at the telephone. "I think about you a lot too, Damien. But it mainly involves dreaming up ways of inflicting pain on you." Ax through the head, winning the lottery, and Ewan McGregor failing desperately in love with her were the ones which currently featured most often. "Funnily enough, rather like you did to me."

She twisted a strand of her boring brown hair through her fingers and considered, not for the first time, getting it dyed one of those vibrant fashionable colors much vaunted in makeover programs. Would she look good as a Fiery Chestnut? Possibly. But it might be better with a more radical haircut than a neat bob that was more conservative than Dan Quayle. Did they do a Brunette Bombshell? Would it transform her life to switch to Brazen Ebony? Whichever way, the hair she currently had needed washing. Another chore to add to the growing list of things she had to do tonight and none of them involved wasting time talking to Damien. She wriggled her toes and eased the dead weight of her cat from her foot before he made it completely numb. The Cat Formerly Known As Prince gave her a look that would have turned ten blackbirds to stone. Josie blew him a kiss as he strutted into the kitchen, outraged tail flicking the air.

"I never meant to hurt you," Damien continued, intent, it seemed, on having his say.

"Comingout with 'I'm in love with someone else, goodbye' generally does."

"We should have talked things through."

"Damien, the first I knew about it was when you came down with a packed suitcase. I thought you were off to a computer conference in Margate or somewhere. I didn't expect you to end our marriage at nine o'clock on a Monday morning." Particularly not after we'd made love the night before and reached simultaneous orgasm -- both of which were very unusual for a Sunday. "You wouldn't talk about anything. Not even who would get custody of the cat. You breezed out as if you were going to buy a loaf of bread."

"I don't know what came over me," her husband said. "One minute I was happy, the next I wasn't."

"'Thing' came over you," Josie said. "Thing and her double-D cleavage and Lycra leopard-skin-effect thongs." (Yes, I have been to her house and peered over her garden wall. I know she has a rusting clothesline with two bits of wire missing and clothespins that don't match, showing a carelessness in the laundry department that you would never have tolerated from me!)

"It wasn't simply about Melanie."

Melanie, Josie mimicked, pulling a face fit to sour milk down the phone.

"Although, I admit, she was the catalyst."

Catalyst? Home wrecker!

"I feel as if I have made an awful mistake," Damien said. "A really awful mistake."

"And how's that supposed to make me feel? I'm just getting my life back together. I no longer need a ton of Kleenex just to watch EastEnders. I am no longer emaciated and blotchy and look like I have some deadly disease. Strangers no longer shy away from me in the street. Friends have stopped telling me that I really should see the doctor. I'm happy."

"Are you?"

"Yes." It came across as a little too defiant to ring true.

"I'm not."

There was another uncomfortable pause.

"How's The Cat Formerly Known As Prince?" he said more brightly.

"He's delirious. Eating his Kit-e-Kat like there's no tomorrow. He's coping very well with being a single-parent feline."

"Good." Damien didn't sound as if he thought it was good. "What's it like being a substitute daddy?"

Damien exhaled slowly. "Tougher than I thought."

Josie smirked to herself.

"The kids put Lego in unspeakable places, I've just had to spend an inordinate amount of money getting biscuits and chocolate chip cookies extracted from my laptop, and they leave toast crumbs in the bed. Most nights, it feels as if I'm sleeping in Prince's litter box."

I bet that curtails the wild sex sessions that were much vaunted in the early days!

"Does Thing know you phone me?"

She heard Damien bite his nails. Something he always did when he was contemplating lying. "No."

"So where is she now?"

"At Tesco's. Late-night shopping."

Whoop-de-doo! And I thought my life was boring!

"Did you tell her the divorce papers have come through?" More nail nibbling. "No."

"You haven't sent them back yet?"

"No."

The Cat Formerly Known As Prince started a hearty wail at the kitchen door. Josie put her hand over the mouthpiece. "I'll be two minutes," she whispered. "You won't starve."

The Cat Formerly Known As Prince gave her a look that said, If-l-could-use-a-can-opener-I'd-be-out-of-here.

"Is it really what we want?" Damien was using his best cajoling voice. The one he used to reserve for getting her out of bed on the weekends to make him bacon sandwiches. "Really and truly?"

"Even as we speak, my papers are languishing with Live It Up, Live It Down, and Live with It -- or something like thatsolicitors to the terminally impoverished. just sign them, Damien."

"I don't think we should rush into this."

"You already did."

"I don't deserve this, Josie. You can't throw five years of marriage down the drain."

You did. I can.

"Can't I come round to see you?"

"I won't be here."

"Where are you going?"

"That's nothing to do with you."

"I'm still..."

For Better, for Worse. Copyright © by Carole Matthews. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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