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,


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.

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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HarperCollins Publishers
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5.31(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.79(d)

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?"


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.

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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For Better, for Worse 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 26 reviews.
Lindsie More than 1 year ago
This book was well written. It was filled with humor. However, it took a long time for the plot to get to where us readers want to read, and ended very quickly. Moreover, its hard to believe that two strangers could fall in love after a date. Eh, it was good but I think it could have been better. C+
brianne75 More than 1 year ago
Love it! Really addictive, didn't know how to put it down. Lovely characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it is a good book but is more for like a weekend. not an educational book. good for teens who are into romance. it is very hard to put down because you want to know whats going to happen next. i think it would make a great movie. even though i felt like i knew what was going to happen next, i still loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this book after reading the first few pages thinking it was going to be a witty and fun book to read. After the first few chapters the book falls flat and it becomes rather repetative. Josie's husband who left her for another woman decides that he wants her back after she jokingly tells him that she has moved on after the six months they have been seperated and is involved with someone else. Meanwhile, on her flight from London to New York, she really does meet another man and is starry eyed by the time they reach the airport. It just seems unlikely the events that follow and I felt that the author drug out a good story and made too many twists to the plot for it to be enjoyable. Instead I just felt frusterated, like get to the point already. I was actually skipping pages and I didn't miss a thing. I wish I still had my reciept so I could return it and get something more worth my time.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was an incredible book! I didn't want to put it down. Laughing out loud made my husband look at me funny. Leaves the reader in suspense in every chapter! I LOVED IT!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
While this is a good book, I think it would make an even better movie (a la Four Weddings and a Funeral).
Guest More than 1 year ago
this is a good beach read or poolside read for those of you ladies who likes to lounge. you've read this type of book millions of times, but this one is different in its own special way.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Incredible book! I could not put it down...and when I had to, I couldn't wait to return to read it! Leaves the reader in suspense about love triangle! Highly recommended!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great, I got it with out knowing the author. I cannot wait to buy more of her books. This was a great quick beach read that you will not be able to put down.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book made me laugh out loud in parts. Very funny situations and believable characters. This is definately not the type of book that I usually read (I typically read military history). But I found it pleasant and engaging and quite witty at times. I will highly recommend this one for a quick easy light read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was great and I definately recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought the book started out kind of slow until the last quarter of the book but it was worth the wait. Loved the duck issue!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Definitely a light read...a good romantic comedy...a cute, yet predictable story...but for some reason I could not get into the writing style of this didn't flow for me...some people compare this book to Briget Jones Diary, without the timetable, but I had a tough time with Bridget Jones Diary, so maybe it's just me...I wouldn't recommend it...if you want to read it, check it out from the library...DO NOT spend $15!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very light-hearted, and was a very enjoyable read. The wedding was hilarious, and the characters seem real.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely LOVED this book! I was laughing so much, and it isn't very often that that happens with a book. It was great, the whole plot, and twists and turns were an added bonus what with love hate bitterness and crushes brewing in the same room. Two thumbs up!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a member of the Reading With Ripa Book Club, so I read this book for the reading club. It is a great book that will make you laugh and is hard to put down untill the last page. Excellent book for married and divorced people.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ironically I read this book on my honeymoon on a beach and could not put it down. It was a fun, easy and entertaining read. I am going to pass it along to my girlfriends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Out of all the books Kelly Ripa has picked this summer, this is my favorite. I read the book in basically 3 days, couldn't put it down. The story was just something you could relate to happening in one's life. Highly Recommend.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read For Better, For Worse because Kelly Ripa recommended it. Okay, so maybe that's not the best reason to pick up a book, but I thought it might be a fun, late summer read before the kids go back to school. And it was. I enjoyed this book and it made me laugh, made me remember strange and funny things in my past relationships. And then I took a previous reviewer's advice and checked out Shade of the Maple by Kirk Martin. I read the Prologue online, sensed there was something deep inside and was hooked. It connected with me and OMG was the ending incredible. Amazing how a 'good' book like For Better, For Worse gets so much publicity but you end missing gems like Shade of the Maple or Tending Roses by Lisa Wingate. Hope Kelly's next pick has a little more punch.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw Regis and Kelly and had a free weekend I couldn't put it down, my wife is now hooked I guess we will have take out for dinner tonight.. I hope Carole Matthews doesn't wait to long to write her next book,
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very good book, definetely check this one out! Kelly always recommends great summer reads!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you want something light that's just plain fun, check this out. Lots of laughs and hilarious situations with a hint of Bridget Jones. For relationship dramas with more depth and emotion, definitely read Shade of the Maple by Kirk Martin and The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks - my two all-time favorites.