She Makes It Look Easy is a novel involving something that likely every woman can relate to. I haven’t met a woman yet who hasn’t at some point just felt like they are overwhelmed by how much they have to do to stay organized, and always feeling like their house (and sometimes their very lives) are a complete mess. Lead character, Arial Baxter, has just moved into her ideal neighborhood, but she feels anything but ideal herself. As the mom of three very active, curious, and very messy boys – Arial feels scatterbrained and unable to finish unpacking, much less be organized. Her new neighbor, Justine, seems to be exactly the opposite – the true example of a super mom, super wife, and ‘Miss Popularity’ of the neighborhood all rolled into one.
When Justine takes Arial under her wing to help her get organized and get integrated into the social atmosphere of her new neighborhood Arial feels so grateful … and begins to somewhat idolize her new neighbor/mentor. Later, when rumors start to circulate about Justine not being as close to ‘perfection’ as she seems Arial refuses to believe it – until her neighbors carefully constructed lies to hide an affair begin to unravel, and her perfect life begins to implode from within.
This book makes you feel grateful for your rambunctious kids, your imperfect spouse, your messy house – making your feelings of ineptitude to handle it all feel ‘normal’. Perfection is what isn’t the norm! If it’s too perfect … you may not know the whole story.
Real friendships abound by the end of the story and having a strong faith to see you through life’s ‘messes’ is also a pervading theme. This book is just over 300 pages and I read it very quickly. You really get sucked in rather quickly. Women would relate best to the story, especially those with small children but even those who are unmarried I believe would get a good laugh at the antics of Arial’s boys. Some of them HAD to have come from real life experiences because they are just that ‘crazy’!
Book Cover Review
The photo on this cover really draws you in. Before you even read the title you know that the book is about some for of jealousy. We peer past the young woman, beyond the gated white picket fence, to see the other couple kissing in the next yard. The bright yellow text was a good choice to make the title stand out, but I can tell that the designer had to add a darker green blur to the grass to make it work. It distracts a little from the couple in the background and might have been handled a little less heavily for less distraction.
Overall it is a successful cover, and does its job to draw in the reader. The back cover is rather plain, but the color is vibrant, ties into the photo on the front, and the text is well-organized and readable.
* This book was received for review by the Christian Fiction Blog Alliance (CFBA). Further information about the author and the book, provided by the CFBA can be found below:
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Marybeth Whalen is the wife of Curt and mom of six children. The family lives outside Charlotte, NC. Marybeth is a member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team and a regular contributor to their daily devotions. Her first novel,The Mailbox was released in June 2010. Her next novel, She Makes It Look Easy, will be released in June 2011. Additionally, she serves as director of She Reads, Proverbs 31 Ministries’ fiction division.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Ariel Baxter has just moved into the neighborhood of her dreams. The chaos of domestic life and the loneliness of motherhood, however, moved with her. Then she meets her neighbor, Justine Miller. Justine ushers Ariel into a world of clutter-free houses, fresh-baked bread, homemade crafts, neighborhood play dates, and organization techniques designed to make marriage better and parenting manageable.
Soon Ariel realizes there is hope for peace, friendship, and clean kitchen counters. But when rumors start to circulate about Justine’s real home life, Ariel must choose whether to believe the best about the friend she admires or consider the possibility that “perfection” isn’t always what it seems to be.