More Like Her

More Like Her

3.7 22
by Liza Palmer

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What really goes on behind those perfect white picket fences?

In Frances’s mind, beautiful, successful, ecstatically married Emma Dunham is the height of female perfection. Frances, recently dumped with spectacular drama by her boyfriend, aspires to be just like Emma. So do her close friends and fellow teachers, Lisa and Jill. But Lisa’s too

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What really goes on behind those perfect white picket fences?

In Frances’s mind, beautiful, successful, ecstatically married Emma Dunham is the height of female perfection. Frances, recently dumped with spectacular drama by her boyfriend, aspires to be just like Emma. So do her close friends and fellow teachers, Lisa and Jill. But Lisa’s too career-focused to find time for a family. And Jill’s recent unexpected pregnancy could have devastating consequences for her less-than-perfect marriage.

Yet sometimes the golden dream you fervently wish for turns out to be not at all what it seems—like Emma’s enviable suburban postcard life, which is about to be brutally cut short by a perfect husband turned killer. And in the shocking aftermath, three devastated friends are going to have to come to terms with their own secrets . . . and somehow learn to move forward after their dream is exposed as a lie.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Chick lit favorite Palmer (Seeing Me Naked) dips into darker territory with her latest. Private school speech therapist Frannie’s most recent breakup opens her mind to the possibility that her romantic failures are due to a “fear that my defenseless heart and my unconditional love are a burden no one wants.” Frannie’s burgeoning confidence leads her to start a relationship with Sam, an “out of my league” architect working at the school. The novel takes a strange turn when the new headmistress’s controlling husband kills his wife on campus during a faculty gathering at which Sam, Frannie, and her friends are present. While the drama of the incident propels all the characters to honest reflection and action, the second half of the book suffers as the incompatible tones of the two story lines grate against each other. Nonetheless, Palmer’s dialogue is reliably natural and funny, and her insights into the way women betray their true selves in search of acceptance are keen and honest. Agent: Christy Fletcher, Fletcher & Co. (Apr.)
Mirror (London)
This is sharp, funny, clever and very romantic. The story, about a young woman downsizing her expectations in the wake of a tragedy, might not be new, but Palmer’s handling of it is surprisingly fresh and engaging.
Daily Mail (London)
The book is a well-plotted examination of domestic violence, chasing unattainable dreams and hiding one’s real self. The dialogue is sparky, the characters engaging and this is by all means a great read.
“Palmer takes what could be a standard chick-lit story about finding oneself and adds emotional depth through this shockingly violent act. While Palmer’s characters find happiness and closure by the final page, readers will ponder this surprising story for a good, long time.”
Library Journal
Frannie Reid is a thirtysomething speech therapist at a private school in Los Angeles, where her biggest problems include seeing her ex-boyfriend—a coworker—each day, dealing with a new boss, and deflecting her best friend Jill's constant matchmaking efforts. Frannie's bad luck with men continues as she stumbles into a relationship with Sam, an architect working on a team renovating the school. As the fall semester progresses, though, she and the new headmistress, Emma Graham, are forging a friendship, and things with Sam are heating up. The funny, sharp tale takes a dark turn when Emma's husband arrives at the school armed with handguns. What would have been a perfectly enjoyable chick lit novel is transformed as Palmer (Conversations with the Fat Girl; A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents) deftly shows the characters dealing with the aftermath of the shooting while navigating their continuing relationships and work issues. VERDICT The blend of humor and sadness is realistic and gripping, and watching Frannie figure out who she is and what matters is gratifying. This will appeal to those who enjoy Jodi Picoult along with chick lit fans willing to read something a little darker. Recommended.—Beth Blakesley, Washington State Univ. Libs., Pullman
Kirkus Reviews
After escaping death in a school shooting, a mild-mannered woman begins to demand a little respect. New headmistress at the Markham School Emma Dunham is beautiful and accomplished--a kind of Grace Kelly figure in the stuffy staff lounge. She is just the kind of woman speech therapist Frannie Reid would like to be, but that would require a kind of easy confidence she can't imagine. Frannie does have a cheering team--Jill, a fellow therapist at Markham, and Lisa, a new science teacher. Their relationship is palpable--they swear and joke and snipe like real friends--and the two encourage Frannie to date since pompous Ryan, head of the history department, dumped her. On a rare faculty night out, she meets Sam. An architect working on an expansion to the school, he is handsome, has a lovely Southern drawl and really gets Frannie. It feels like kismet until the night of Emma Dunham's birthday party at the school. Emma's creepy husband Jamie walks in and shoots Emma in the head. He spins around and begins aiming at anyone close enough, and then Sam gets hold of the gun and shoots. Afterward Sam goes home with Frannie to change out of their bloody clothes, and they have desperate, frightened, bone-shattering, love-inducing sex. And then, they don't see each other for a very long time. Sam is coming to terms with having killed a man (while being praised as a hero) and Frannie is wondering why the woman she wanted to emulate turned out to be an abused wife. Although the romance between Sam and Frannie has pull, Palmer spins a few enticing subplots: Frannie adopts Emma's beautiful dog, Lisa and fellow architect Grady decide to marry after the shock of the shooting, Frannie contacts Emma's estranged sister and finds that their childhood primed Emma for a life of abuse. All this has to happen before Frannie and Sam can decide whether their relationship can survive the shooting. Palmer brings wit and wisdom to her tale of love, damage and self-acceptance.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
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Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Liza Palmer is the author of the international bestseller Conversations with the Fat Girl, as well as Seeing Me Naked, A Field Guide to Burying Your Parents, and More Like Her. An Emmy-nominated writer, she lives in Los Angeles, California, and is hard at work on her next novel and several film and television projects.

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