The blurbs on the cover of this book really put me off at first - someone on the front cover saying that 'by about page ten the reader has a grin on his face' and on the back something about her being the new Jane Austen - etc etc. While being none of those things to me though, I found a lot else in it which grew on me as the book progressed, and surprising to myself I found that I couldn't put it down - and reading to the finish I found it a fun, and infinitely satisfying read.
The heroine of the novel is Harriet Mahoney - 42, failed in a long term relationship, aspiring novellist and looking for a way to escape New York and her ex-partner for a while - wound-licking stuff. She applies for a position ghost-writing Isabel Krug's life story - the fact that she has no idea just who Isabel is, or how notorious her story is, is the subject of the book. Harriet goes to live with her at Cape Cod and in fact it is the growing relationship between these two women which was for me, the most interesting part of the book. As we learn more about Harriet we also have more of Isabel revealed. Its all done in context of the novel and some of it is quite startling. One thing I'll say for Elinor Lipman is she really knows how to tell a story without over-killing points - but she is also wonderful at providing great twists to the story at various points.
It really is an 'engaging' read, but it might take you more than 10 pages to get into. I certainly didn't find I was grinning for a week - but I found it a great read and I think itsworth perservering with if you aren't immediately grabbed by it.