Book Review, Fiction, Women's Fiction

Book Review: Lindy DeKoven – ‘The Secret Life of Wishful Thinking’

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In a tradition similar to that of Jennifer Weiner, the lives of four women become tightly intertwined as they learn that life lived through wishful thinking does not guarantee their dreams coming true. Four years ago, the precocious Kenzie Armstrong saw an end to her quick ascent up the marketing career ladder because of a humiliating accident that came straight off the heels of her beloved mother’s passing. She is not making her way back into her field not by choice, as the run-down racetrack she used to work as a horse handler promotes her to marketing with the urgent mission of increasing attendance least the track be forced to close. After a chance encounter with a storefront psychic, Kenzie begins secretly wishing that the fortune teller’s far-fetched prediction—that the ring she has found on the beach belongs to her future husband—will come true.

The Secret Life of Wishful ThinkingHer best friend Gemma has her own wish: to find the identity of her biological father, despite her mother’s warning that the cost she will have to pay just might not be worth it. Her assistant, Sarita bears the burden of her traditional Indian family’s expectations, and wishes she could share with them her true passion: singing at the local Goth club. And one of the track’s richest horse owners, Brynne, wishes for a perfect life so much so that she is ready and willing to overlook her husband’s indiscretions. Facing odds they didn’t think they could conquer, the four women learn that wishful thinking is not what makes life happen; but that a mixture of hard work, grit, courage, perseverance, and friendship can make a dream life come true.

DeKoven’s book has a lot of potential. The four women’s lives are rich and different, and their friendships bring them each closer to achieving their higher purpose. The choices these women are faced with, the consequences of their decisions, and the lessons they learn will no doubt resonate with many a reader. However, the choppiness of the writing kept the story from flowing easily and wrapping the reader in a comfortable blanket. Instead, we are often shaken by an almost telegraphic list of thoughts running through the women’s heads. But the content shared made for a richer read despite the awkwardness of its presentation. There is also a need for more analysis; the rich information that was made available to us was not processed in a way that made the conclusions the protagonists drew seem to come out of a hat.

The story that Lindy DeKoven came up with has a lot of potential, and her characters are very relatable. I look forward to seeing what this author comes up with next, especially if the wrinkles that made their way in this book are ironed out in the next one.

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