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Mourning Glory - Warren Adler

General Fiction

Thirty-eight year old divorcee Grace Sorentino is in a precarious position, upwardly mobile in age, downwardly mobile in income. A cosmetician on Palm Beach's fashionable Worth Avenue, she barely makes enough to keep her 16-year old daughter Jackie in their tiny apartment. Still they're scraping by . . . until Grace loses her job. Hanging on by a thread, Grace reluctantly pursues a cynical and bizarre scheme to snare a rich widower. But when she finally comes within a hair's breadth of her goal, she finds herself enmeshed in a self-spun web of deception and danger that threatens to rob her of everything she holds dear.

Mourning Glory
Warren Adler

I consider myself to be a reader of discriminating and eclectic tastes. Favorite authors? James Joyce, Ernest Hemingway, Anton Chekhov, Agatha Christie, John Irving (and even Jude Deveraux, I guiltily admit). Recently, I’ve added Warren Adler to that list! Granted, he definitely is no Hemingway in terms of talent and lasting literary value, but he knows how to write an engrossing read. He’s not very well-known (he seems to have been more popular in the 70s and 80s), but definitely should be!

   One of his old novels, “The War of the Roses,” somehow managed to find its way into my family’s bookshelves, and, bored one day this summer, I decided to pick it up. I didn’t expect much, and so I was very pleasantly surprised. I couldn’t put it down; it was a fascinating story of the worst divorce imaginable and a great read. So I decided to try some of his other novels. I managed to snag a galley of his not-yet-released novel “Mourning Glory” and it was even better than “Roses.”

   The great plot is what hooked me in at first. It’s about an attractive Palm Beach woman in her thirties Grace Sorentino who is fired from her job at Saks, and, with little money and a teenage daughter who wants the better things in life, devises a plan to lure a rich widower to her side. By going to funerals of their recently deceased wives, of all things! Of course, things don’t quite turn out as planned (she didn’t factor falling in love with her prey into the equation) and Grace, the heroine of the novel, must deal with the consequences.

   “Mourning Glory” has romance, humor, drama, a wonderful portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship, and even steamy sex scenes to spice things up a bit. Not to mention a neo-Nazi skinhead! Adler, an older middle-aged man, somehow manages to make his two main female characters, Grace and her daughter, very real and vibrant, and he really seems to have a lot of insight into the female mind and psyche.

   I liked the fact that Adler wrote about people with flaws, whose lives were far from perfect but whom you empathized with because of those flaws. “Mourning Glory” is definitely not your typical romance, and it was refreshing! I would’ve liked more development of the daughter Jackie, however. She was a very interesting character, in my opinion, and more on her teenage, tortured soul would’ve been welcome. But I’m being very nitpicky there! There’s not much to complain about. In short, if you’re looking for a great and fast-paced read that would be perfect on a summer vacation or on the beach, or anywhere really, you can’t go wrong with “Mourning Glory” by Warren Adler.

Out August 2001.

Book review by Esther Wang the big site