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Book Review: ‘A Very Good Life’ by Lynn Steward


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A Very Good Life is the first book in an exciting new series by successful business woman now author Lynn Steward.

In this story, which crosses over from the literary to women’s fiction to romance, Steward takes us to 1970s Manhattan, home of the sophisticated and the elite. There, we meet Dana McGarry.

Dana has everything — a successful job at a prestigious department store, a handsome lawyer husband, a beautiful home, and loving family and friends. But things aren’t always as perfect as they appear to be, aren’t they?

When Dana’s husband begins to drift away, and demands at her job require that she behaves unethically, her world begins to crumble. She finds herself at a crossroads. Will she make the right decisions and stay true to herself and her vision of what a ‘good life’ should be?

This was a wonderful read! It reminded me of novels I read years ago by Barbara Taylor Bradford. Female readers will no doubt empathize with Dana as she struggles to keep her career and marriage together. She is strong, but also caring and sensitive. Readers will also be swept away by the setting. With vivid detail, the author brings Christmas in 1970s New York City alive in all its splendor. I really felt transported in time and place, felt the snowflakes and smelled the holiday trees. The characters are sympathetic and interesting and, of course, the antagonist is just one of those persons the reader will love to hate.

Steward has created a wonderful world of drama in this new series. Book two is supposed to come later this year and I’m really looking forward to reading the new installment. If you love women’s fiction and are a fan of strong female protagonists, I recommend you pick this one up. It won’t disappoint.

Find out more on Amazon.

Visit Lynn Steward’s website.

My review was originally published in Blogcritics.

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Special Guest Feature: Bell and Banjos by Gary Morgenstein

Bell and Banjos by Gary Morgenstein

Author of the relationship book,

How to Find a Woman…Or Not

Gary Morgenstein’s novels include Loving Rabbi Thalia Kleinman, about a divorced man who falls in love with a beautiful woman rabbi; Jesse’s Girl, a powerful story about a father’s search for his adopted teenage son, and Take Me Out to the Ballgame, a political baseball thriller, all available on Amazon, as well as the baseball Rocky The Man Who Wanted to Play Center Field for the New York Yankees. His prophetic play Ponzi Man played to sell-out crowds at the New York Fringe Festival. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, surrounded by lots of books and rock and roll CDs.

I remember schlepping down on Amtrak to meet a woman in Princeton, New Jersey. Date number two. Date number one had been for coffee at the Warwick Hotel on Manhattan’s Sixth Avenue. This was a Jdate date. She actually looked like her picture, an attorney, now into running her own web-based food service. Mid-40s, nice, smart, far as I know, no prison record.

So for dinner on a Saturday night I take the subway from Brooklyn into Manhattan, to Penn Station (on a good day about a 50 minute ride). Then Amtrak to Princeton. 90 minutes one way. My iPod was powered up with Aerosmith. I call my best friend Sid and he asks, What are you doing making a four-hour round trip, plus you know you will get stuck with the dinner bill?

Because I feel 19 again when I do this. Because I am in my 50s now and a lot more is behind than in front. Because when I date, there is that magical possibility beyond why do I have a zit on my cheek, did I wear too much cologne, where did I get all the nose hairs, do I have my Viagra/condom combo in the wallet in case.

Because maybe she will hold my hand. You appreciate that a lot more at 50 than 20. Three hour dinner, bill of $140 and I get an email the next day, You are charming and cute and intelligent and good fun, but I think we live too far apart for this to work.

And um, when you told me to come down for a four friggin” hour round trip, you didn’t know that?

It is madness dating at any age, I know.

That said, I want to find a woman to share my life with again. One failure does not a life make. I want bells and banjos, walks on the beach, Netflix nights, Thai take-out, apple picking, Jersey shore, hand holding and all that intimate stuff. I figured women want the same thing. I figured that with all the single women in New York, deduct the gay guys, the faithful married guys, the semi-faithful married guys, it was really me competing against a lot of hot firefighters and they worked nights mostly.

Where to go for the honeymoon might be the biggest challenge.

2, 345,905 dates later, oh boy was I wrong.

That’s what my book is about. For guys, whether you’re 25 or 55, who want to find a woman. For women, because if we don’t have a dialogue into what we really think and want, we will never reach each other. To share my crazy and funny and painful experiences and to give you dos and don’ts and why nots. Guiding and shaping your romantic pursuits aided by “spinning” techniques I developed through my years as a public relations executive.

From online dating to public transportation, the myth of metrosexuality, the mystery of younger women, grooming/clothes/smelling right, good and bad convos, what did they actually mean when they said that and why talking on the phone after a first date is a bad idea, hitting on girls walking their dogs, airport lounges, yoga class, alienating helpful friends, risking job security over a pair of pretty brown eyes, I will help you find someone to share a movie and take away on a Saturday night.

Or your life.

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