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From Barnes & NobleBarnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers
The opening scene in Brodeur's comic first novel is a familiar one. Lucy and Martha, two single thirtysomethings, are seated at a wine bar grousing about the dearth of appropriate men in New York. Lucy, a biologist specializing in patterns of sexual selection, has a theory. As she sees it, urban males have lost their essential manliness amid a culture headed for metrosexuality. And Martha, whose fledgling consultancy deconstructs the destructive dating patterns of available men, has plenty of research to support Lucy's hypothesis. But Brodeur's novel comes fully into its own when Lucy enlists the support of her old college pal, Cooper -- a ruggedly handsome dairy farmer from West Virginia -- to teach Martha's city slicker clients how to be "real" men and how to treat a woman.
Once the campers are installed at Cooper's farm, however, things don't go quite as planned. Martha's budding romance with Cooper comes under fire from his "steel magnolia" of a mama, a woman determined to make Cooper appreciate the finer qualities of southern belles in contrast to the many "flaws" of Yankee women. In addition, as the men learn how to be alpha males, the women find themselves assuming unwanted traditional roles. But by the end of this winsome tale, Brodeur has provided a surprising and heartfelt lesson for each of her characters that helps them embrace their individual strengths and weaknesses. (Fall 2005 Selection)