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More To Life Than This    by Carole Matthews order for
More To Life Than This
by Carole Matthews
Order:  USA  Can
Red Dress Ink, 2006 (2000)
* *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Here is the scenario. You are in your mid-thirties and have been a housewife and stay-at home mom since your children were born in your early twenties (except for an embarrassing two week stint working in a shoe store that resulted in termination). Your thirty-eight-year-old husband is a good provider but things have gotten cold in the bedroom and the best adjective to describe your husband is staid. And while you known you shouldn't complain, your two children (one boy, one girl) are so perfectly behaved you're starting to worry about them. Round things out with cellulite and your new obsessive worry is that the 'floating candles' in your lovely home are no longer floating; they're sinking.

The above is what Kate is going through. Sure, she has two beautiful children, a BMW, a lovely home, and a kind husband (not listed in priority order, necessarily) but she is bored. She's so bored that in her mid-thirties, she feels like a middle-aged woman. She constantly asks herself whether there is more to life than this. When Kate's husband, Jeffrey, senses her restlessness, he suggests that she go off on a personal retreat to have some time to herself. Kate reluctantly agrees. She knows that she needs to do some thinking, but is nervous about leaving the kids in Jeffrey's care for seven days. Kate solves that problem by temporarily borrowing a friend's au pair for the week - a six-foot-tall buxom blonde who is a knockout and good at her job.

When the au pair shows up and immediately nicknames Jeffrey Jeffers, Kate gets nervous, although she has to admit that Natalie ('Nat') is good around the house and with the kids. To further complicate matters, Kate's well intentioned but bumptious best friend Sonia decides to attend the Tai Chi retreat too, though Sonia knows that Kate wants alone time. When Kate and Sonia arrive at the retreat, Kate is ready to focus on finding herself, but she can't help her distraction with handsome classmate Ben, not to mention Sonia's attempts to shag their instructor.

I found More To Life Than This a fun, entertaining read that I enjoyed more than Matthews' previous A Whiff of Scandal. Kate is a great main character and it was refreshing reading about someone a bit older than the average twenty-something protagonist common to most chick lit novels.

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