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Claire Voyant    by Saralee Rosenberg order for
Claire Voyant
by Saralee Rosenberg
Order:  USA  Can
Avon, 2004 (2004)

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* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Claire is the sassy and beautiful, yet bewildered, protagonist in Saralee Rosenberg's second novel, Claire Voyant. Twenty-nine year old Claire is a Darryl Hannah look-a-like, complete with long blonde hair and even longer legs. Claire is beautiful and is not timid about enhancing her appearance. She approves of plastic surgery and she has had various 'procedures' done in LA, where Claire lives and works as an actress. Claire's career has taken a recent nosedive because her agent just dumped her and a promising new acting role fell through. Feeling bedraggled and depressed as nubile twenty-year-old aspiring actresses move to Los Angeles (which Claire says is short for 'Lotsa Ass') daily, Claire flies back home to New York, where she grew up with her parents, brother and sister.

While Claire is not happy about moving back in with her family, she feels like she is at a crossroads in her life. She's not getting any younger and she has yet to 'make it big' in acting. However, Claire has not given up hope and she quickly books a flight to Miami (courtesy of her parents in exchange for a promise to visit her grandmother) as a 'body double' - for a celebrity's less-than-perfect rear end. Claire would prefer to have her entire body on the silver screen, not just her naked rear, but she is desperate for work and practically broke. Plus, the South Beach scene in Miami might open up new opportunities. With these thoughts in mind, Claire boards the plane and is seated next to an elderly man. Claire ignores him until the old guy drops over into her lap: he is dead!

Amidst the pandemonium that ensues, the plane diverts to Jacksonville for an emergency landing. The man's family is contacted by the airline and Claire agrees to disembark to meet them - two men, Ben and Drew, arrive at the airport after they hear their 'Pops' is dead. Claire quickly strings a tale of lies as she tells Ben and Drew about 'Pops' last moments.' Claire feels immediate gratification from the relief on the faces of Ben and Drew when they hear Pops was happy and proud of them, right down to his last dying breath. She feels that she has done a good deed appeasing these two grieving men (she also notices that Drew is quite attractive). Unfortunately, Ben and Drew are so appreciative of Claire's kindness, they insist that she speak at the funeral. An even more bizarre twist of events leads to the realization that Claire is related to Pops and that she feels a spiritual 'connection' to the dead man.

This novel tells (with a chick lit flavor) how Claire's life is permanently changed after Pops dies in her lap. I laughed out loud several times while reading about Claire's Jewish family. The antics of her grandmother and parents are highly entertaining, although this novel also explores deeper issues surrounding marriage, love, parenthood, and overall - family. While Claire's story is indeed fantastical (if not improbable or even impossible), it is a work of fiction. Fans of chick lit, women's literature, and perhaps even romance fans, will enjoy Claire Voyant.

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