Author: Diana Orgain
Publisher: Berkeley Prime Crime
# of Pages: 296
I received this book for free to review.
From Publishers Weekly
In Orgain's charming debut thriller, office manager Kate Connolly becomes a supersleuth and a new mom in the same week. From the moment she and newborn Laurie lock eyes, Kate can't imagine returning to work after her six-week maternity leave, but in expensive San Francisco, she and her ad exec husband, Jim, need every bit of both incomes. Then a dead body is fished out of the bay and linked to Jim's estranged brother, George. Both the police and PI Albert Galigani, hired by the dead man's mother, believe that Jim and Kate know more than they're revealing. Kate is determined to find the elusive George and get some answers, but she soon gets in over her head. Galigani serves as a charming mentor as Kate navigates the twists of motherhood and an uncomplicated but engaging plot.
It was so fun to read this book! It is pretty out there for me, in terms of my normal reading genres. But when Diana Orgain e-mailed me asking if I would like a copy to review, I couldn't turn down a book with such a fun premise and cute title. And it was a fun story- pretty light and engaging. I'm not sure how a book that involves three murders can really be "light," but this book manages to be. And it is a quick read, too. I think it's just the sort of book I'd read on a beach, if I liked beaches. Or on a short flight.
I don't have any children, so I couldn't completely sympathize with some of the plot points. I guess new mothers are very emotional- that is understandable! But one thing that really stuck out to me about this book was more of an underlying issue. Kate, the main character, is a new mother. She has to return to work to support the family, but at the same time, she has no desire to leave her baby at home. Again, I don't have children, but that is the part of motherhood that seems to involve the most compromise and give-and-take. There is always that friction between working and being a mother.
For example, Kate calls her boss near the end of her maternity leave and tells her that she doesn't know when she'll be back to work. Her boss says she understands and Kate thinks,
"Did she understand? She didn't have any children, or a spouse for that matter. She had given up everything to climb the corporate ladder."That one line really got under my skin for some reason. I don't know if there is a good balance between working and being a mother- I'm sure it's difficult and I'm positive there is a lot of guilt involved, whichever way you go. But comments like that make it even harder. Maybe Kate's boss didn't want to be a mother. Maybe she just hadn't found someone to marry yet. Not everyone has the same goals. That doesn't mean she gave up everything. And even if she did- it's her decision. If she can be a successful woman climbing the corporate ladder, more power to her. There are so few who do it. To me, Kate makes it sound as though her boss sacrified too much to get a good job, and didn't focus on the important things in life.
But maybe this just irks me because I'm a 20-something single woman who would also like a chance to climb that fabled ladder. And not be judged for doing so by people who made different decisions than me. What do you guys think? Am I reading way too deeply into this? Probably.
I am also making it seem as though that one line ruined my enjoyment of the whole book, which is misleading. It was a fun read. It's sweet and cute and I look forward to more Maternal Instincts books. I think Orgain has a really fun idea, and I hope the series does well. My mom read the book before me and enjoyed it (and she knows all about motherly instincts!). And for some reason, mystery novels always fascinate me more than other ones because I feel like the author must expend a lot of energy thinking of a plot, and then clues, and then the culprit and all the rest... they seem very complicated to write, so kudos to Orgain for managing to do it in a new and fun way!