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Sleepless Nights    by Sarah Bilston order for
Sleepless Nights
by Sarah Bilston
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Lyn Seippel

Summer in Connecticut isn't turning out like Quinn Boothroyd hoped it would. Baby Samuel's colic would be a nightmare except that Q's not getting any sleep at all. Q's sister Jeanie's holiday isn't turning out like she planned either. She was invited from London to spend time with her sister in New York City. Rural Connecticut doesn't take the place of clubs, shopping and dining in the most amazing city in the world.

Q's maternity leave is coming to an end. Every day she finds herself more and more reluctant to return to the catty, bickering law firm where she worked before Samuel was born. When an opportunity comes up to take over a local law firm, she declines. Who'd give up practicing law in New York to write wills and handle divorce cases? But one nasty divorce case is drawing Q in and the rural lawyer needs help if the woman is to keep her child.

Paul Dupont, their host, doesn't visit often. When he does show up he finds Jeanie in the nude. Jeanie finds it hard to handle day-to-day politeness after her embarrassment. Everything the man says or does sets her off.

The sisterly bickering between Q and her middle sister who is still in England is realistic and funny, just the type of thing that can happen to a long distance relationship. It isn't a big part of the plot, but readers will like the sparring.

2nd Review by Rheta Van Winkle:

Sleepless Nights is an engaging take on the problems that two British women are having in their lives. One, Quinn 'Q' Boothroyd, is married to an American, Tom, and living in New York City. Her sister Jeanie has come to stay with Q and Tom to help care for their newborn son who, apparently suffering from colic, screams and cries constantly day and night. Not being able to get any sleep is making life exceedingly difficult for Q and Tom, who are high-powered big city lawyers with jobs in competitive firms that have little regard for family problems of any kind. Jeanie, on the other hand, is younger than Q and has just completed a master's degree in social work. She is trying to figure out what to do with her life now that she's finished with her education. She's not sure which area of social work would be best for her, or even whether she will be able to find a job in a depressed economy, and she's also struggling with romantic entanglements with a boyfriend back in England and a new attraction to a man in America.

The chapters alternate between Q and Jeanie as they try to resolve their problems. Although Jeanie thought she would be staying with her sister and their husband in New York City, she finds when she arrives that they have taken the opportunity to leave the city for a few weeks to stay in a house in a small town in Connecticut that is owned by Tom's friend Paul. Paul introduces Q and Tom to a small town lawyer friend of his who is thinking of retiring, and although they had no intention of changing jobs when they left New York, they meet with this lawyer and become entangled with a young woman client of his. Meanwhile, the baby continues to scream, and Q becomes more and more exhausted.

There is a third sister, Alison, who has an interesting role in the story. She is older than the two sisters who are major characters, and both sisters complain to each other of problems that they've had getting along with her. She is wealthy, married with two wonderful children, and a seemingly perfect life, and Q believes that Alison is constantly judging her. Jeanie is actually quite close to Alison and spends long phone calls telling her all about the problems that Q and Tom are having with the new baby, without revealing this to Q. Indeed one of the plot lines is the lack of communication between Q and Jeanie and the many things they keep from each other, complicating both of their lives needlessly.

I enjoyed reading this book. Although the characters struggle with serious problems, these are written about in such a lighthearted manner, that the reader never worries too much about them or whether everything will work out in the end. The writing is engaging and the characters likeable. In short, this book would be a perfect one to take on a vacation to read on an airplane or at the beach.

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