Arts & Entertainment

The Charmers by Elizabeth Adler

61aa7ec12694bbcb0d56_The_Charmers.jpg
61aa7ec12694bbcb0d56_The_Charmers.jpg

The Charmers – by Elizabeth Adler (St. Martin's Press, 2016)

 

The Charmers, Elizabeth Adler's latest novel, is not exactly what I would classify as “charming,” but it is a tongue in cheek, throw-back to the glitzy days of the likes of F. Scott Fitzgerald and his shining Zelda. With two dimensional characters (think the game of Clue), there's not a lot of substance or even mystery to The Charmers, but that obviously was not Adler's intent. If you want depth and character development, go back to Adler's tour d' force, Fortune is a Woman,published in 1992. Fortune is a Woman offered one of the greatest surprise endings of any book I've ever read, and it still twinkles in a place of honor on my book shelf.

Not every book has to be intellectually stimulating for us to get lost in, which is where The Charmers comes in. The plot is fairly simple. Mirabella Matthews, a famous mystery novelist, has inherited a home in the South of France from her Aunt Jolly, who has been found dead, with a knife in her back. On her way from her native Scotland to begin living in a sleepy French hamlet, Mirabella has a strange encounter on a train with a distracted looking, young blonde, who is sizing up Mirabella in the same way that the author is assessing her.

Sign Up for E-News

Verity, the young blonde, comments, “I'm on the same Paris-to Nice train, looking at my opposite neighbor. She is wearing a brown jumper, a too-long and very crumpled linen skirt, sensible back shoes with a cross strap, and little white lace gloves. No, not lace, they are crochet, ending just above the wrist bone in a tiny ruffle.” (p.19) It doesn't take long for Mirabella to make an unusual offer to Verity, who is on the run from an unfortunate, albeit very brief marriage, to come and stay a while with her at Villa Romantica. Verity quickly learns that the lace gloves are a permanent fixture on the hands of the generous author who so willingly befriends her, hiding a part of the secret of Mirabella's life.

On Mirabella and Verity's route to the Villa, Mirabella's car is run off the very road in Monaco where Princess Grace met her fate. The heiress is unaware that a dastardly villain is plotting, not only to steal her land, but her life as well. The Boss, a mysterious and very wealthy man, built like a mountain, lives in luxury in a neighboring villa, and has designs on using the land on which Villa Romantica is perched to build a huge and profitable hotel. To help him reach his goal, the Boss hires The Russian, a professional (but very bumbling) killer to rid himself of Mirabella, just as he had rid himself of the elderly, but very brave Aunt Jolly.

If you like romance, and with a Villa named Romantica as a centerpiece in this piece, there is bound to be romance, there is the dashing Dr. Chad Prescott, another neighbor, whose specialty is facial reconstruction, especially those faces of children with serious deformities. Oddly, he claims to be the beneficiary of Villa Romantica in an updated version of Aunt Jolly's will, and announces to Mirabella that he will fight her for the title to her land. Since there are obviously romantic sparks between the Doctor and the Writer, the fight for the Villa becomes an interesting tug of war.

Add another Cluish character for fun, the Colonel. “The stocky, bearded, uniformed gendarme with the piercing eyes that I'd met after the accident . . . the one who had questioned me, made notice abot the small green car . . . had not yet come up with the answers,” Mirabella states when the Colonel makes his first visit to her villa. (p.86) The Colonel, of course, will provide an alternative source of romantic hero for the two female leads, and he plays his part well.

This unwitting cast of characters, Colonel, the Doctor, the Boss, and the Russian, the Writer, and the Debutante add up to a cast of characters that lead the reader to chuckle as the book dashes to the finish. There is not much to read into in The Charmers, but if you are looking for a little escape hatch from the rigors of your work week, grab a ticket for the South of France. The book has a little history, a little intrigue, but is a lot of fun.

 

 

 

Beth Moroney, former English teacher and administrator in the Edison Public School District, specialized in teaching Creative Writing and Journalism. Recently Moroney published Significant Anniversaries of Holocaust/Genocide Education and Human/Civil Rights, available through the New Jersey Commission on the Holocaust. A passionate reader, Moroney is known for recommending literature to students, teachers, parents, and the general public for over forty years. Moroney can be contacted at trackdak19@hotmail.com.

The opinions expressed herein are the writer's alone, and do not reflect the opinions of TAPinto.net or anyone who works for TAPinto.net. TAPinto.net is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the writer.

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Denville

Morristown Happenings: Things to Do in Morristown This Weekend; July 13 - 15

July 13, 2018

MORRISTOWN, NJ - Jump for joy....it's the weekend! Don't let Friday the 13th scare you away, there are lots of fun things to do in and around town this weekend! Have a great weekend everyone!

 

Friday July 13

Spirit Animals Glassblowing Class; Morris County School of Glass; 9am - 11am

Mini Summer Camp: Woodsy Walkers; Great Swamp (Chatham); 10am - 11:30am

Tyke ...

Sparta Kiwanis Helps Fund Quinlan's Hero Club Endowment for Child Grief Counseling

July 21, 2018

SPARTA, NJ — The Hero Club at the Joseph T. Quinlan Bereavement Center is one step closer to reality having received a donation from the Sparta Kiwanis. John Quinlan, Director of the Karen Ann Quinlan Hospice foundation, presented the program to the club at their meeting at Homers restaurant. 

Kiwanis member Frank Cannistra introduced Quinlan and Diane Sebzda, Director of ...

Registration is Now Open for the Adath Shalom Religious School!

July 22, 2018

Registration is now open for the Adath Shalom Religious School!

Religious School tuition is free for all new students in grades 3 through 7 (synagogue membership is required) and half-price for new students in grades K through 2.  

The first day of Religious School for all students is Sunday, September 16 from 9 am to noon.  All students and families are invited to meet the ...

Upcoming Events

Tue, July 24, 7:00 PM

Kinnelon Public Library, Kinnelon

Northern NJ Libertarian Party Monthly Meeting

Government

Wed, July 25, 7:30 PM

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham

Masterwork’s Summer Sings Conclude with Verdi ...

Arts & Entertainment

Carousel_image_4795040bf6b6301f766b_adoptionevent2

Sat, July 28, 2:00 PM

Montville Animal Shelter, Montville

Summer Adoption Event at the Montville Animal ...

Home & Garden Other

To Our Current and Future Representatives

July 17, 2018

To Our Current and Future Representatives - Wherever They May Be:

We can never forget we are a nation of immigrants. 

We cannot fall prey to fear, ignorance and anger when we  have been historically driven by freedom and justice. 

We must have the courage and will to fight hate, bigotry and prejudice. 

We must not wake up to what we hoped was a bad dream and ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 18

On this week’s AtlantiCast, you’ll find out how accessing care at Atlantic Health System is now easier, more affordable and closer to home than ever, learn which item from the produce aisle could be the newest weapon against cancer, see what Atlantic Health System, the New York Times and Instagram all have in common and much more.

 

 

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little

People I've Known and Been: Little by Little by Rich Little (Dog Ear Publishing, 2015)

 

Rich Little is a national treasure; a living encyclopedia of movie stars, comedians, and former presidents all wrapped into one dynamic package. Recently, my husband and I had the good fortune to see Little perform at the Tropicana in Las Vegas, where he has been doing his uncanny ...

Lucia, Lucia by Adriani Trigiani

Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani (Ballentine Books, 2003)

 

If a summer romance novel is what you are craving to read as you sit by the pool or beach, Adriana Trigiani's Lucia, Lucia is a perfect choice. Set in 1950 New York City, the novel is about a young woman, Lucia Sartori, who is determined to have a career and be able to support herself, an unusual choice for a girl who was ...

Crowdfunding Options for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Source: Many small start-up businesses and tech ventures in search of capital turn to popular online platforms for crowd fundraising of financial resources to get their concept off the ground and launched into market. Indiegogo, Kickstarter, and GoFundMe, to name a few, offer solutions in generating cash to fund new ideas. How do you get people to contribute to your cause?  Sam Burlum ...