The title of this novel alone was intriguing enough to draw me to it, and today, 120 pages in, Lisa Lickel has not disappointed me. This novel begins in typical romance fashion–with a twist. Boy meets girl, girl likes boy, boy likes girl, girl and boy can’t be together because…ah, now here is the twist. We’re used to reading about beautiful twenty-somethings falling in love with their dashingly handsome Prince Charming, and for those of us who have left the twenty’s far behind, I wonder if we don’t read the story with some degree of nostalgia. Oh, to be young and beautiful again with smooth skin and colorful, sans gray hair.
In Meander Scar, Lisa challenges our thinking by presenting an older heroine–I believe she’s in her late forties or early fiftiees–falling for a younger man. Eleven years younger, to be exact. Ah, scandelous, I know! Even worse is the fact that Ann, the heroine, is still married. Okay, so now you’re wondering why I’m still reading, right? Why haven’t I gotten offended at this point and tossed the book aside? Well, its complicated. True, Ann is married, but she hasn’t seen or heard from her husband in over five years. In fact, by all accounts, he is dead. If only she could convince the courts of this, everything would be fine and she could marry her handsome young beau without incident…but her husband’s wealthy and extremely powerful mom gets in the way and continually sabotages the court proceedings.
What can Ann do? Stay in a dead–literally–marriage for the rest of her life, tied to a house that drains her meager finances, unable to access the money that should rightfully be hers, or…I don’t know…sever all ties and make a mad dash for Vegas? Okay, so maybe that’s a bit rash…how about a mad dash for the Mall of America? Did you know you can get married right there in the mall? It’s true. Buy your dress, get your nails and hair done, pop by their wedding “store” and you’re good to go.
Obviously I was intrigued by the “flip of the tables” this book presented. Twenty years ago we only heard of older men falling for younger women, but today, things have changed and it seems fairly common to see an older woman dating a younger man. Lisa’s novel challenges us to look past the superficial labels and quantifications to the weightier matters of the heart, and for that, I am appreciative. Of course, having been married to a man older than I for fifteen years now and having fielded all the false notions and erroneous judgments that come with that, I may be more sympathetic to Lisa’s novel than most. But regardless of your views on the dating scene, this book is definitely a page turner. For me, it took about fifty pages for me to really get hooked, but by the 100th page, I found myself staying up much later than I should have.
I think this book might be an interesting discussion starter.
Meander Scar by Lisa Lickel
Thanks, Jen, for reading and commenting. I didn’t realize that having “older” characters was so different until people started mentioning that issue in reviews. I guess I know that a lot of readers do so for escapism, but I enjoy reading all kinds of characters.