From BlueInk Reviews: “E.B. Lande delivers a knockout comic novel…”
E.B. Lande delivers a knockout comic novel in Bedtime Stories for Grown-up Girls. Former business partners in a children’s soft goods enterprise, Lillian and Cydney haven’t spoken in 15 years. Lillian, a business executive with a stable home life, was often exasperated with Cydney, a zany artist with a flair for the dramatic who has been entangled in a longtime affair with her married childhood friend, Sen. Robert Bretton.
Lillian and Cydney meet again while attending the funeral of Sen. Bretton’s wife. After Lillian agrees to Cydney’s request for a ride to the Bretton country home in the Berkshires following the service, a moose runs into their car. Now stranded during a snowstorm, Lillian tells stories of their past to soothe Cydney’s fragile mental status while they await rescue. In doing so, secrets come to light as the pair confront bitter feelings about the demise of their business as well as allegations of theft and betrayal.
The book proceeds by seamlessly interweaving the car accident scenario with flashbacks that reveal the protagonists’ histories. From the very beginning, Lande displays a flair for comic timing and pithy prose. With an eye for social class distinctions, she is equally adept at witty dialogue and descriptive narrative. “Yes, I saved you from a life of white slavery,” remarks Cydney, regarding Lillian having been a housewife in suburban Boston. Lande skillfully blends comedy, mystery, and adventure into a poignant tale of relationships and aging rather than presenting a mere farce. As Sen. Bretton observes of their past, “We were all locked in our own private misery or delight. That’s the human condition, I guess.”
Notwithstanding an occasional heavy hand in stereotyping certain secondary characters and a title that may misleadingly suggest an anthology, the intricately plotted story is absorbing throughout its twists and surprises. This is a touching, humorous novel—one that will leave readers eagerly awaiting more from this author.
BlueInk Heads-Up: This book will hold particular appeal for Massachusetts and Montreal readers, who will enjoy the local references.
Also available as an ebook.
From Foreward Clarion Reviews: 4 out of 5 stars.
Bedtime Stories for Grown-up Girls
Reviewed by Lisa Butts
The book is a testament to the bonds between women who can share in each other’s triumphs and understand each other’s insecurities.
In E. B. Lande’s Bedtime Stories for Grown-up Girls, a remarkable friendship unfolds between two compelling women, framed by one pivotal moment where the stakes could be life or death. The story is off like a shot from the opening pages, with a love triangle, a funeral, an errant moose, and a drawn gun. Layers of mystery are shed as the novel progresses, until one shocking fact puts all that came before into stark relief.
In the 1980s, Lillian and Cydney met through a mutual acquaintance and launched Baby Grand, a company specializing in products for parents of young children. In 2006, the present timeline in the novel, Lillian and Cydney are reunited at the funeral of a onetime “nemesis”—the wife of Cydney’s longtime boyfriend. When a car accident leaves them stranded on the side of the road, Lillian spins stories from their mutual past as the situation becomes increasingly desperate.
There are elements of mystery/thriller that escalate the excitement of the plot, including stolen jewelry, bullying loan sharks, and a cheating senator. These elements, and the framing of the story as anecdotes from the past being recalled in the present, allow for fun speculation about where the story is going and how it’s going to get there. Clues are dropped, secrets are revealed, and the suspense is palpable.
The title is a clever delineation of the book’s content, as the story is unfolding largely through short vignettes Lillian is telling Cydney to remind her of their shared past. Some stories are more successful than others. An extended history of Lillian’s family and their acquisition of the jewelry that plays a central role in the plot is somewhat digressive.
Bedtime‘s two protagonists are vividly portrayed, with all their messy, contradictory traits and patterns of behavior. Lillian is a capable mother of three and a confident businesswoman who is nevertheless paralyzed by phobias. Cydney is a cocky, eccentric goofball, clad in children’s shoes and pink denim, with a darkness inside her and an addiction to her married beau. She is described humorously as the type who could “go out to buy a cup of coffee, find herself in the middle of a bank robbery, chase down the culprit in high heels and deliver him to the police.”
Lande delves deeply into the women’s backstories to provide context, including some funny anecdotes about Cydney’s “streetwise” blue-collar youth and Lillian’s college days. The latter story involves a hilarious living situation in which Lillian’s apartment is sandwiched between a loud rock band’s practice space and a “radical, feminist lesbian theatre commune.”
The book is a testament to the bonds between women who can share in each other’s triumphs and understand each other’s insecurities, who look out for each other and raise each other up in a male-dominated business world. Their unwavering support for each other echoes through Lillian’s refrain to “never leave the ship,” and it is rendered poignantly without being overly sentimental.
Reader Reviews from Amazon.
5 out of 5 stars Brilliantly creative… By Harris Berman on Jan 14, 2017
Brilliantly creative; an engaging read. Beautiful portrait of women’s friendships with a serious and nuanced twist on contentious issues.
4 out of 5 stars Not just for chicks… By Ted H. on November 29, 2016
Not just for girls! I thought the male characters were quite powerful — even in the orbit of two very intense women. Very funny and bitchy – snappy dialogue; sometimes a bit too much at the expense of narrative. But really enjoyable and the suspense builds towards the end. Not to give anything away, but you have to get to the end to get the final twist. Is it a romance? mystery? suspense? adventure? buddy story? Or all of the above. Good package. My men’s group really liked it. And that is saying a lot!
5 out of 5 stars I didn’t want these bedtime stories to end. I … By Linda–Boston Nov 27, 2016
I didn’t want these bedtime stories to end. I was dying to know how the story would end but didn’t want to say goodbye to the two main characters- Cyd and Lillian. A highly entertaining read with pathos, intrigue and humor.
5 stars Gripping story, compelling narrative, unforgettable characters, touches of humor, drama, suspense, and pathos. By Judy K. November 25, 2016
What an interesting plot, with the stories of two women, business partners and friends, woven into a tapestry of life, love, and business. The book is memorable, with a very real narrative and lively dialogue. Flashes of humor are counterpoints to both suspense and drama, with a backdrop of human pathos that will stay with the reader long after the last story is told and the last page is turned. Cydney and Lillian become business partners and friends at a formative juncture in their lives. They tap the unique skills of the other to create a chldren’s softgoods company, which becomes the backdrop for their stories which move back and forward in time. The men in their lives are key players, foils for the drama that unfolds between Cydny and Lillian. Several plot surprises along the way add texture and depth to an unforgettable story. Highly recommended!
5 out of 5 stars This is the perfect book to take on vacation By D. Weiner Nov. 20, 2016
This is the perfect book to take on vacation. An exhilarating read that will make you laugh out loud in recognition of the zany antics of two grown up, childhood friends. The author draws you in and keeps your interest; hang on for the ride. It’s a fun trip!
5 out of 5 stars Great escape from the Presidential Election! By Nancy in Mass. Nov 17, 2016
Great book – the story just builds and builds. In the beginning, it’s an interesting and entertaining relationship between two women who go into business together. Insightful and real (despite how wild & crazy Cydney is from the start) and beautifully written. Could be considered a really good book just on the basis of that relationship. The hilarious stuff was like whipped cream with a cherry on top. And then it becomes so much more with the interconnected family pieces morphing into something unexpected. By the end I was blown away.
5 out of 5 stars Not just for grown-up girls! A great story for ALL! By Mitra Nov 13, 2016
What a delight it was to read Ms. Lande’s brilliant novel! I was immediately drawn into her story. There was not one character that she didn’t fully develop; they are all complex and endearing. Her descriptions are chiseled with detail. It’s a marvel to me how she masterfully “paints” Boston of the 1980s, for instance. And my favorite part of her story: the unexpected plot. Ms. Lande cleverly keeps the final twist a surprise. Truly amazing. This is one of those books whose last page you dread to turn; you don’t want to leave these characters behind. Ms. Lande is quite an amazingly talented writer. You should not miss out on reading her story.
5 out of 5 stars Fantastic and entertaining read By Nina L. Levine November 7, 2016
I have just finished reading this wonderfully entertaining book! This story about two female friends over the course of years is a story any woman can relate to! The book has more twists and turns that you never see coming! The author has a way to make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings at the same time. Highly recommend this book!!
5 out of 5 stars Wonderful story of a friendship through time By Aaron Edelstein Oct 30, 2016 Wonderful story of a friendship through time. Suspenseful, funny and endearing. Easy read. Read it at night, before bed. I would highly recommend for someone looking for a story of friendships with some surprising twists.
5 out of 5 stars Read it! By Roy October 27, 2016
The story pulls one through with time lines synchronicity. There are such well drawn female characters that you are curious but not shocked with the twists and turns that fiction always takes. As a guy myself, I am often dismayed by men’s characterizations in chic lit, but the guys here, while clearly not the central focus, are decent human beings caught in the tension between money and career and their simple notions of love. It worked for me!
5 out of 5 stars A great read, at bedtime (or any time)! By Shelley Brown October 23, 2016
What a rare treat to come across a novel that’s both entertaining and thought-provoking, with a plot that keeps you engaged and protagonists who make you care what happens. I love that the core of the story is the complicated, puzzling, and touching friendship between two protagonists (who happen to be women). The author did a great job finding the comedy and the truth underneath. I highly recommend this!
5 out of 5 stars Might make bedtime the highlight of your day By Jessica S. Bethoney Oct 21, 2016 These are the kind of bedtime tales which will serve you well as an end of day reward. Keep the book on your nightstand and you will sail off into your dreams with a smile on your face. However, you might want to hit the sack earlier during the numerous suspenseful passages because you’ll need to find out the denouement before you fall asleep. And you might be a little sad when you have to say good-bye to the unique and engaging protagonists Lillian and Cydney, but you can always look forward to the next novel by E.B. Lande who really knows how to entertain her audience!
5 out of 5 stars A great read, I couldn’t put it down! By Judy L. October 20, 2016
A wonderful, engrossing novel. I read it from beginning to end on a long flight from the east coast to the west coast, totally absorbed and entertained. So cleverly plotted that each new development – there are fun twists and turns in Lillian and Cydney’s stories – had me eager to find out what happened next.
5 out of 5 stars You will want this book as your bedtime story! By A. Gerson on October 9, 2016
A wonderful story highlighting the complexity of female friendship. Lillian and Cydney come to life and the reader becomes deeply involved in their relationship and adventures. This is a well written book that has many emotional insights and is hilariously funny.