Any of Allison Winn Scotch’s novels would be a great choice for a lighter women’s fiction book discussion. She has an easygoing writing style, a fabulous sense of humor, and writes about very realistic characters going through some very unrealistic challenges.
For example, in my personal favorite, Time of My Life, Jillian is tired. Tired of her seemingly perfect suburban life, tired of not connecting with her husband, tired of cleaning up after a toddler, tired of not having a life anymore. After learning that her post-college boyfriend, Jackson, is engaged, she wishes she could go back and see what might have been. And all of a sudden, she finds herself seven years in the past. Pre-husband, pre-baby, still living in a cramped Manhattan apartment with Jackson. Now come on! Who hasn’t wondered what life might have been like if you stuck with one person over another? Stayed at that one job instead of moving? Scotch deftly tells the story as though she’s your best friend and it really happened. I think it would make a delightful pick for discussion, although you might need to make sure the conversation doesn’t stray too much into the “oh I wish I had a chance to go back” territory. One of the most heart-wrenching aspects of the novel is seeing Jillian deal with not having her precious baby girl anymore – that’s what she misses most about her “original” life.
Her latest book, The One That I Want (due out in June 2010) has the same sense of whimsical fantasy – only this time instead of going back in time, we get to take a look forward. Tilly actually loves her seemingly perfect life, until she realizes it’s not so perfect after all. When her husband leaves her to follow his basketball-coaching bliss, Tilly stumbles through life until a psychic pal grants her the gift of clarity – the ability to flash forward into the future and see where life is going to take her. Again, Scotch handles a whimsical premise that could be downright silly in another writer’s hands and manages to make it sound perfectly reasonable and possible. Her down to earth characters and snappy sense of humor are a real treat, and readers will enjoy discussing Tilly’s fate.
Scotch is also the author of The Department of Lost and Found, the story of a young woman diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer.