Jul 122013

Friday Mornings at NineWhat Happens When You Start Asking ‘What If?’ ย 

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Source: Gift from Mom ๐Ÿ™‚

TYPE OF AUSTENESQUE NOVEL: NON-Austenesque, Women’s Fiction

TIME FRAME: Present Day โ€“ the beginning of September to New Year’s Eve

MAIN CHARACTERS: Three forty something wives and mothers โ€“ Tamara, Jennifer, and Bridget


I’ll be honest, unlike Marilyn Brant’s According to Janeย and A Summer in Europe, this book wasn’t instantly added to my wishlist. Three women in unhappy marriages contemplating affairs doesn’t really sound like something my romantic heart would enjoy. But having read and ADORED both of Marilyn’s other works of fiction (as well as her lighter contemporary romances) I figured I should still give it a try.


  • Three Heroines: I loved how this story was divided up by the three main characters. Some chapters followed just one of our three heroines at a time and others displayed their exchanges and interactions when they assembled together. I liked having multiple main story lines, learning more about three diverse heroines, and seeing the story from three distinct point-of-views. Triple the heroines, triple the drama, triple the romance!
  • Accessible and Real Marriage Issues: The return of an ex, the emergence of indifference and inattention, feeling unfulfilled and undervalued โ€“ all these things are common causes for unhappiness or dissatisfaction in marriage. It was interesting to observe how each couple dealt with these issues and how they altered each woman’s feelings and futures.
  • Complex and Philosophical: Lots of introspection, self-examination, and reflecting going on. Marilyn Brant does a fantastic job of conveying the varying dynamics and dilemmas in modern marriages. This novel isn’t just a simple romance โ€“ it is thought-provoking, sensitive, and multilayered!
  • Marilyn Brant Staples: There are some things you should expect to find in all of Marilyn Brant’s novels: decadent and vivid descriptions of food and a music playlist that perfectly matches the story’s tone. I love this about Marilyn’s novels! The only downside…the reader doesn’t get to eat the delicious delicacies first hand! (I so want to eat Bridget’s creations!)


  • More Resolution, Please: I sort of wish that there was a bit more closure for this novel. I really enjoyed my time with Tamara, Bridget, and Jennifer and I would have loved to seen a little more of how their futures panned out.


If you are skeptical about this novel because of the premise or because it sounds like it is about extramarital affairs โ€“ I’d recommend you still give it a chance. It is NOT about adultery and divorce. This novel is about self-identity and relationships. As with any Marilyn Brant novel this story is well-crafted, absorbing, and skillfully written!


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  14 Responses to “Friday Mornings at Nine – Marilyn Brant”


    Excellent review, Meredith! I have the same reservations about this book. But like you, I thought, if I thoroughly enjoyed Marilyn’s other books, then this one couldn’t be that bad. Glad to hear it was a great read!
    In addition to the food and music inherent of Brant’s works, I think she does a great job with complex issues, making her characters so real and allowing them to overcome their inner struggles. So glad to hear this book has all of that!


      You bring up such an excellent point, Jakki! I really love that about Marilyn’s novels. Thank you for stopping by and reading my review!


    To be honest, I’ve had the same feelings as both of you and have avoided reading this! I’ve loved everything else Marilyn Brant has written, so I really should give this a try! ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks for reviewing, Meredith!


      Glad I wasn’t alone, Candy! Marilyn is such a terrific writer – I’ve loved everything I read by her. I just have two left: On Any Given Sundae and Double Dippings that I haven’t read. I think out of all of them, According to Jane is still my favorite! ๐Ÿ™‚


    I haven’t read this one yet but I’m sure I will at some point. I’m glad to hear your thoughts on it and that you enjoyed it even though you had some reservations. Contemporary women’s fic isn’t really a favorite genre of mine (unless I’m really in the mood for some introspection lol) but I’ve loved everything of Marilyn’s I’ve read so far (even though she makes me cry at least once per book!)


      I know what you mean, Monica. I don’t think I would have picked up this book if it wasn’t for Marilyn Brant’s name on the cover. I tend to stick to lighter and happier reads. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’d be curious to hear what you think of this one, if you do read it. ๐Ÿ™‚


    I am actually like you when it comes to novel about affairs being also a girl who like romance and cheating isn’t something I like but I like the fact that it is better under the surface the first impression is being wrong and discovering something which is full of surprise is always fun
    I do not know whether I wil try it or not I have quite big list of booking waiting


      Ah another romantic at heart! <3 I'm sure this is a book many people might be prejudging. I did! But I am very glad I read it and am happy to own it!

      I know what you mean about having a big list of books waiting, Mariam! It never seems to get any smaller!


        XD Indeed when one book is read another replace it on the list, because there are so many books being published but I must say I am quite picky I am literature student since high school and i love when the style of the author and the book is convincing even tough it is magic it is has to follow a path and keep it
        I ma a great romantic but when it comes to real like I ma such a pessimistic girl weird -_- sometimes not so like Elizabeth tough I admire her


    Oh, Meredith, your review absolutely made my day… thank you so much for the thought and insight you put into writing it! This topic can be a very tricky one, I know, but I truly appreciate how you realize that the story is about self-identity and self-knowledge rather than adultery. And you aren’t the only one who would have liked to have more of the story at the end! So many thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and hugs to all of you here who have taken a chance on one of my books just because I wrote it. I <3 every one of you! !!!


      Marilyn, you are so sweet! I’m so glad you enjoyed my review! I think you did such a fantastic job treating this topic with delicacy and creativity. I was wondering about the resolution…I understand sometimes those things are out of an author’s hands. ๐Ÿ™‚


    Your opening of the review with the question “What if?”, reminded me very much of the movie “Letters to Juliet”. Not at all Austen related fiction, but I love romantic comedies, tasteful ones anyway. Have you seen it?


      Yes, I’ve seen the movie – I actually didn’t know it was a book though! I love romantic comedies too! Especially if there is a uniqueness to the story.

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