REVIEW: The Real Liddy James by Anne-Marie Casey

SYNOPSIS: Forty-four, fit, and fabulous, Liddy James is one of New York’s top divorce attorneys, a bestselling author, and a mother of two. Armed with a ruthless reputation and a capsule wardrobe, she glides through the courtrooms and salons of the Manhattan elite with ease. What’s her secret? Liddy will tell you: “I don’t do guilt!”

This is the last thing literature professor Peter James wants to hear. Devastated by his divorce from Liddy six years earlier, the two have a tangled history his new partner, Rose, is only just sorting out. But Rose is a patient woman with faith in a well-timed miracle and she’s determined to be sympathetic to Peter’s plight. Together, Liddy, Peter, and Rose have formed a modern family to raise Liddy and Peter’s truculent teen and Liddy’s darling, if fatherless, six-year-old.

But when Rose announces she’s pregnant, Liddy’s nanny takes flight, the bill for a roof repair looms, and a high-profile divorce case becomes too personal, Liddy realizes her days as a guilt-free woman might be over. Following a catastrophic prime-time TV interview, she carts her sons back to Ireland to retrace their family’s history. But marooned in the Celtic countryside things are still far from simple, and Liddy will have to come to terms with much more than a stormy neighbor and an unorthodox wedding if she ever hopes to rediscover the real Liddy James.

GENRE: Adult Contemporary

RECOMMENDED AGE: 18+ (discussion of sex, mature themes, and some cursing).


FAVORITE QUOTE: "Of course Rose knew that this Liddy James was a brand - the Superlawyer! Supermother! Barbara had described - and her success was based on this image of Supercompetence! that allowed her to dispense advice on chat shows, represent celebrity clients, and write best-selling books."

RATING: ★★★★☆


I was provided a free copy of this book by Dayle for the purposes of writing this review. This did not influence my decisions about this book at all.

Do you know a workaholic? Do you have parents, relatives, or friends that spend hours working and seem to enjoy it? If your answer was yes, then you might know someone who can be called a Liddy James. In fact, I consider myself a little like Liddy James. I work two jobs just because I wanted to earn my own money and I picked up the second job because it's something I love. On top of that I work probably 18 hour days. If I'm not working at the two jobs, then I'm working on reviews, my bookstgram, or on household things. I think this is why from page 1 I felt some sort of connection with Liddy James... and a bit of admiration for her as well. I read in awe of how this woman could balance it all, but then I realized that Liddy's kingdom would have to fall soon and oh my did it collapse in spectacular fashion! I believe that's what I loved most about the book. It was an empowering read for women (or men or whatever you identify as. Anyone can be inspired by Liddy) and it was very realistic. I have a criminal justice background and when I read books I try to see how realistic they are in comparison to how I know the criminal justice system really works. I really appreciate it when the author does their homework and writes realistically for contemporary novels. This author had to have done so much homework for this novel and from the biography in the back of the book she doesn't boast herself as an attorney, which is even more impressive when you look at how much lawyer lingo was included in the book.

I also really enjoyed how the POV switched between the two main characters, Liddy and Rose, and how the reader is privileged to hearing the same story from two different sides. While all of the characters were very well developed, but Liddy and Rose shined because of the POV transitions and I think the decision to have the split POV transitions helped to develop other characters Liddy might not have been in contact with as frequently throughout the novel. Sadly while I have some good things to say about this book, such as it's an empowering read for women and it maintains a good deal of realism with custody issues and legal matters, I have some bad things to say about it as well.

While I enjoyed the book for the most part, towards the end of the story I found myself very bored with the tale. The pacing grows slower and slower as your progress through the book. The book also seems to have great plot development until you get towards the end. Certain important elements to the overall plot seem to be horridly rushed towards the end and there isn't much harmony with the beginning of the book. Yes, I love plots that harmonize. I'm that weirdo who was disappointed by the lack of harmony between the original trilogy in Star Wars and the chronological first three movies of the series. I feel that a really good story will call back to the beginning of the story and there will be a sound resolution. This book ends rather abruptly and it's very upsetting that you aren't privy to the end of Liddy James. Maybe the author wanted to leave room for a sequel, but this book didn't read like a series. It read like a stand-alone so hopefully it will remain as such.

The last complaint I had was the biggest complaint I've had about this book. The book was not very easy to read in certain areas. Liddy is a divorce attorney and a lot of her story revolved around her office environment, which I could understand completely. Liddy is a workaholic and I wouldn't want a big chunk of her life to not be wrote about. However, a LOT of legal terms were used and a lot of the jargon would easily go over a good amount of people's heads. I work and have worked in Courthouses and the lawyer talk still went over my head. Sometimes I would have to reread the passages and sometimes I just completely gave up and skipped sections, hoping that what was said was not very pertinent to the story.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I feel that this book would be a good read for someone who loved adult contemporary novels and loved books about strong, independent women then this book is for you! If you like romances, then this book might be for you as well since there are slight romances throughout the book. Or if you're someone whose looking to take a break from the YA fantasy/dystopian genre, then this book might be a nice break for you! While I had some complaints about it, my overall enjoyment of the book and the fact that the book was so insightful and inspiring outweighed a lot of the nit-picking I had with this book. I think this book would be just as insightful and inspiring for you as well.


Review by Paige G.

To see more from Paige and learn about our guest reviewers, click here!

Thank you for reading!

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