Helen of Pasadena

( 56 )

Overview

Helen Fairchild is leading a privileged Pasadena existence: married to a pillar of the community; raising a water polo-playing son destined for the most select high school; volunteering her time on the most fashionable committees. It only bothers Helen a tiny bit the she has never quite fit in with the proper Pasadena crowd, never finished that graduate degree in Classics, and never had that second baby. But the rigid rules of society in Pasadena appeal to Helen, the daughter of...
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Helen of Pasadena

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Overview

Helen Fairchild is leading a privileged Pasadena existence: married to a pillar of the community; raising a water polo-playing son destined for the most select high school; volunteering her time on the most fashionable committees. It only bothers Helen a tiny bit the she has never quite fit in with the proper Pasadena crowd, never finished that graduate degree in Classics, and never had that second baby. But the rigid rules of society in Pasadena appeal to Helen, the daughter of Oregon "fiber artists," even if she'll never be on the inside.

And then along comes a Rose Parade float, killing her philandering husband and leaving Helen broke, out of her "forever' house and scrambling to salvage her once-rarefied existence.

Enter Dr. Patrick O'Neill, noted archaeologist, excavator of Troy and wearer of nubby sweaters. A job as Dr. O'Neill's research assistant is the lifeline Helen needs to reinvent herself, both personally and professionally. Ancient mysteries to solve! Charity events to plan! School admissions advisors to charm! If Helen wasn't so distracted by her incredibly attractive boss, she might be able to pull off this new life.

Helen's world widens to include a Hollywood star, a local gossip columnist, an old college nemesis, a high-powered Neutron Mom, an unforgiving school headmistress , the best Armenian real state agent in the biz, and, of course, the intriguing Patrick O'Neill. While uncovering secrets about ancient Troy alongside her archaeologist boss, Helen discovers something much more: a new sense of self and a new love.

With it's keen social observations, laugh-out-loud scenes and whip-smart dialogue, Helen of Pasadena reads like a roman à clef and unfolds like a romantic comedy. Along the way, this novel delivers humor, insight and wisdom on reinventing yourself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Dolan's debut novel, Helen Fairchild finds her life turned upside-down after her husband leaves her for another woman and promptly dies in a freak accident during Pasadena's famed Rose Parade. To make matters worse, Helen discovers that they were on the verge of bankruptcy and she's forced to sell their beautiful home and find a job in order to pay her son Aiden's private school tuition. This makes Helen re-examine the choices she's made, noting "I happily traded in my grad-student status for membership in the young mothers' club of Pasadena." Helen finds employment with Dr. Patrick O'Neill, a Pasadena archeologist studying the journals of an excavator of Troy. He also happens to be handsome, charming, and unattached. In addition to her role as research assistant, Helen must help Patrick navigate the Pasadena social scene, which includes a bevy of beauties all trying to get their hands on him. Dolan (of Public Radio's popular Satellite Sisters) has created a compelling narrative and a memorable cast ideal for the woman who enjoys a quick read, likeable characters, and frequent descriptions of what everyone is wearing. (Nov.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780984410224
  • Publisher: Prospect Park Books
  • Publication date: 11/1/2010
  • Pages: 256
  • Sales rank: 352,091
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Lian Dolan is the wise and very witty woman behind the Chaos Chronicles, a podcast with 50,000 downloads a month and a blog with 50,000 readers a month. With her four real sisters, she created the Satellite Sisters, a talk show, blog and website; during its years as a radio show, the Satellite Sisters won 8 Gracie Allen Awards. Lian was the principal author of Satellite Sisters UnCommon Senses, published in 2001 by Riverhead. She also writes for Oprah.com and has written for O, The Oprah Magazine, Working Mother and others, and she has appeared on such TV shows as The Today Show and Oprah.
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Read an Excerpt

Now I knew: I'd get a full church at my funeral. What a relief. It was the kind of thing I lost sleep over at night, being a planner and all. How many times had I sat at funerals, counting the hundreds (or, more depressingly, dozens) of mourners in the pews and thought, (continued)
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 56 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(26)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(9)

2 Star

(3)

1 Star

(3)

Your Rating:

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Loved this one - smart women's lit

    I loved reading this book, it's smart women's lit! I even teared up towards the end of the novel when I thought someone was righting a wrong. But I can't tell you where, it would spoil a storyline.

    This book makes you want to become the person you dreamed you would be before life got in the way. Helen's sudden loss doesn't allow time for sulking, after months of finding her way she rediscovers herself (a strong, confident, independant person, someone people respect and want to be near). The interview at the back of the book suggests that the author is working on two other books set in Pasadena. I wonder how long I have to wait for her second book to be published.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 17, 2010

    Worth checking out!

    This is a little light to just call women's fiction and little too exciting to just be mom-lit, but Helen Fairchild's life and the twists it takes make this an enjoyable read. Helen's husband is killed in a freak accident, involving the Rose Bowl Parade, no less! Helen falls back on her unfinished Classics degree to procure a temporary job with a visiting scholar at the Huntington Library. Dolan gives us what feels like an insider's look at the world of Pasadena, with houses and private schools that provide your identity. I gather there are a couple more Rose books in the future and I look forward to reading them too.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 26, 2013

    This is a must read

    This book is so much fun. It starts for Helen at a low point in her life and moves toward her reinventing herself. Lots of humor and romance. Enjoy!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 9, 2011

    Wonderful book!

    Great balance of romance and intelligence, I want to know what happens next! A must read book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 23, 2010

    Such Fun!

    I received a review copy of Helen of Pasadena, and planned to save it for an upcoming long flight. I hate to get stuck with a dud book, so I snuck a peek, just to make sure it was carry- on worthy. The story was so engaging, the characters and chatter so convincing, the setting so familiar that I just breezed right on through the book! If you live in Pasadena, you'll have great fun visualizing all the landmarks in the story, but if you've never been near the Rose Parade, never mind-- the "power mommies" and comic situations Lian Dolan portrays with such wit and grace will be so familiar, you'll feel like you've lived there,too. Such a fun read....but now I need another book for my flight! Write faster, Ms. Dolan!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 8, 2011

    Good+Summer+Book

    I+enjoyed+reading+this+book.++The+characters+were+likable.++Recommend+for+any+one+looking+for+a+good+beach+book.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 22, 2011

    Fun read!!

    Really enjoyed this story - fun and fast moving, interesting characters. A great weekend/beach read!!

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2010

    Refreshing

    Loved Lian Dolan on the radio and love that she first published this book electornically as it is very fitting of her style. The book did not disappoint. Dolan's fresh style of writing about a strong female character are wonderful. I couldn't put the book down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2010

    Wish B&N Sold This Book

    I would like to buy this book, and am a B&N member, but alas B&N is not selling it. The book was released on 11/1/2010. A membership is no good if B&N does not sell books I want to buy.

    2 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 4, 2010

    Excellent, smart, unique, page-turning twist on chick lit - read it!

    I had the rare opportunity to read "Helen of Pasadena" before it was published, and I loved it. I'm an inveterate and unashamed chick-lit reader (and I don't even mind calling it chick-lit), but I like it to be smart and funny and clever even while it's page-turning and light. "Helen" totally fits the bill, with an engaging, likable heroine; and page-turning story; a hilariously critical eye and social commentary on wealthy Pasadena mores; and a hunky love interest. What more could you want? I think this is Lian Dolan's first of many efforts in this genre - she's got an ease of touch and smartness of voice that will take her far. Whether or not you've ever heard of Pasadena, you'll identify!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2010

    Will be forced to buy elsewhere

    I am a BN Member, but alas, B&N is not selling this book. I will now be buying it elsewhere.

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2014

    I just couldn't put the book down,

    I read Helen of Pasadena at any opportunity. Finished it in two days.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 18, 2014

    Boring!

    Snore fest. Didn't like anyone in this boring story.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 16, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Cute story

    Enjoyed the story of Helen. It is a light hearted book. Well written. Enjoyed all the charecters.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 15, 2014

    Not my favorite

    This book felt like it took forever to read. It just didn't get me from the beginning and I enjoyed the ending but I feel like I wasted alot of time to get to the end.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    Kash sorry but know i have to have dinner cant talk from calvin

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    To haleys sister

    How old are you? Wanna chat

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    To haley

    Hey haley my name is lanay wanna chat?

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 8, 2014

    To below

    Yeah im Sarah

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 25, 2013

    Pretty bland and predictable

    I bought this for about $2 on the Nook daily special. That is about what it is worth. The characters are superficial and you can see the plot development from a mile away.

    Not a great read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 56 Customer Reviews

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