Dee Ernst writes chic-lit with a difference, her protagonist’s are not the perky twenty and a bit bright young thing (who always seems to be either work as a PR or a PA in fashion or advertising), dumped by some love rat, who after copious tears and self pity navigates her way to true love with her soul mate, but are mature women with far more substance and less style. In 2010 Dee Ernst took the plunge and self published her novel, Better Off Without Him, which I reviewed in 2011 and I was delighted to be offered her newest novel, A Slight Change of Plan, published with Amazon’s Montlake imprint, for review.
A Slight Change of Plan features Kate Everett, a fifty something year old widow ready for a fresh start. With her adult children beginning their own lives, she has exchanged the family home for a fabulous new condo, swapped her high pressure career for a part time teaching position, and is looking forward to her daughter’s impending wedding, the possibility of her first grandchild and perhaps finding someone new to share her life with. But Kate’s plans are thrown into almost immediate disarray when her son and his girlfriend need somewhere to live and take over the top floor of her condo, her mother, whom she has barely spoken to in eight years, can no longer live alone and Kate is forced to make room for her in the basement, and then her new job falls through. At least her love life though is looking up, she has met a nice man online and is enjoying dating again, but soon even that grows complicated when she reconnects with the college boyfriend who broke her heart and finds herself attracted to her daughter’s boyfriend’s father who is visiting for the wedding. Best laid plans and all that …
A Slight Change of Plan is a smart, witty and engaging novel about love and life, wonderfully capturing the challenges of middle age woman reinventing herself after her husband has gone and her children are grown up. A pragmatist with a romantic soul, Kate is a wholly likeable protagonist and I’d be happy to share a glass of wine, or a spaghetti dinner, with her any time.
The situations Kate are faced with are ones many mature women can relate to from the irritation of hot flushes to the concern for an aging mother, and I think Ernst portrays them in a realistic manner, if sometimes slightly exaggerated for comic effect. I smiled a lot through this story and laughed out loud more than once.
A Slight Change of Plan is chick-lit for the mature woman, well written, funny and full of heart, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to any woman of a certain age.
I am pleased to be able to share a guest post from Dee Ernst today about the inspiration for this novel. Read on for her insights and the chance for you to win a copy of your own…
Someone asked me the other night where I got the inspiration for the stories I write. A few years ago, that question would have sent me into a sputtering, mind-bending, soul-searching and very long-winded explanation. Now, since I’m older and infinitely wiser, the answer is a simple one – I write the kinds of stories I want to read.
My first book was the love story between a 40-something single mom and a 20-something rock star. Was that a fantasy for me? Sure – isn’t it for every mom who looks over their kid’s shoulder at whatever music video they’re watching and says, “Wow”?
But more that that, I wanted the heroine to be a complete, experienced character, not a young, simpering thing interested in clothes, shoes and sex. I wanted a hero who was not the typical alpha male – strong, silent, brooding, with a terrible secret holding him back. And the whole idea that the two of them have to spend the first half of the book bickering/denying their attraction/bumping into each other semi-naked every five minutes?
So I wrote the kind of romance I wanted to read about. Michael and Diane were grown-ups. They had real lives and real problems. Diane had almost grown daughters, and their feelings had to be considered. Michael was a rock musician, but he was also a math nerd who loved his family. Theirs was a relationship that grew. Was the sex hot? I think so. But they also talked about their journey. They spent time learning from each other. Was it still a fantasy? Yes, but it was also a pretty honest look about how complicated love could be.
A few years later, as much as I loved chick-lit, I was tired about all those heroines who didn’t have common sense, backbone, or a life outside their glam job/hunky boyfriend/fabulous closet. Couldn’t a real woman – successful, confident and NOT twenty-seven – be a chick-lit character? Did the humor have to be because she was always being pushed into impossible, over-the-top situations? Where were the women of a certain age – MY age – who were kicking butt, taking names, and making readers laugh? I couldn’t find any of them who were not knitting, opening a decrepit bed-and-breakfast, or solving a mystery with their cat. That’s when I wrote Better Off Without Him.
When it came to writing my new book, I took a look around me. All my friends and I were in the same demographic, and there were common threads in our lives. Dealing with aging parents. Having grown kids return home. Staring a new career. Downsizing. And, since a few of my friends are divorced, dating after fifty. Now that’s a whole other ballgame.
So that’s what I wrote about, because that’s the kind of book I’d want to read – a real woman dealing with real problems, trying to figure out her role as her world changed around her. But it had to be funny. I was done with those long, navel-gazing novels about crushing middle age. My feeling has always been, if you can’t find something to laugh about, why bother getting out of bed in the morning?
So A Slight Change of Plan is Kate’s story. She’s about to begin her ‘Second Act’. She’s got grown children, great friends and a mother she hasn’t spoken to in years. She wants a new career, a new home, and she’s looking for a new love. She thinks she’s got it all figured out, but every time she takes a step towards her new life, she finds another obstacle. All her well-laid plans go awry.
Sound tortured? Maybe, but I don’t like to read tortured, remember? I like to read funny, with a great love story and a happy ending. And hopefully, that’s the kind of book I wrote.
A Slight Change of Plan is available to purchase from
Amazon US and your local Amazon site
1 kindle edition of
A Slight Change of Plans to giveaway
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