Mating Rituals of the North American Wasp by Lauren Lipton

When Peggy Adams accompanies her friends out to Las Vegas for a bachelorette party she laments at always being the bridesmaid and never the bride.  Having a little bit too much to drink she finds her Prince Charming and the next thing she knows she wakes up in bed with an unfamiliar man.  Horrified she flees his hotel without speaking to him, and goes back home with her friend and business partner Bex determined to put the experience behind her.  She gets a pre-engagement ring from the boyfriend she has been dating for seven years and tries to be happy with that, but her happiness is short lived when she receives a call from the mystery man in the hotel- she can’t be pre-engaged because she is already married to  the mysterious stranger!
Peggy heads out to Connecticut to meet with her husband, Luke Sedgwick to plan a quick annulment.  But when one of the townspeople, let’s say Luke’s blue-blooded grandmother Abigail Sedgwick, knows that her grandson is married she is overjoyed that he is finally married and gladder still that Peggy comes from one of New Ninevah’s oldest and most illustrious families, the Adams (Peggy’s family is really from California!).  Abigail has a mild stroke when she discovers that they are planning on dissolving the marriage, and then promises them her house, to do with as they please, if they can just stay together for one year. But Luke and Peggy have taken an instant dislike to one another and it remains to be seen whether they can stick it out for a year, even for the money.

It took me the first few pages to get into this one and I think it’s because in the beginning I liked the characters less than I thought I would. Peggy comes off as crotchety and ill-tempered as she tries to get blood out of a stone and have her unworthy boyfriend Brock commit to her. Luke seems rather out to lunch as he founders trying to make money and deal with a persnickety girlfriend, Nicole Pappas. I also didn’t expect them to be so mercenary with the deal they made. Of course Abigail wants then to get married, and she is practically at death’s door and has never sold her house or wanted to do so. It has been very important to her, and Luke and Peggy plan to sell it off and split the three million dollars that it is worth as soon as they can get their hands on it. Yes, I know the grandmother is being manipulative, but still.

Peggy has to spend half the week running her store with her friend Bex, and on the weekend she goes to Connecticut to spend time with her “family”. Things shifted and I really started to get into the story more when Peggy starts her visits to Connecticut on the weekend and start to get to know the house and its quirks, and the townspeople, and customs of the WASPs.  The comedy derives from the fish out of water aspect, because of course most of what Peggy does or is used to flies in the face of her new surroundings. As usual I enjoyed getting to hear about the food and the customs of different people, and though I knew where the story was going and how it would end, I started rooting for screaming in frustration for Peggy and Luke to just talk to each other and get it together because you see that each is what the other is looking for, but somehow they keep missing that point.

Bonus for me was that this book was set in my neighborhood, so it was fun to hear about the landmarks and museums and to know the street Peggy is standing on.  Some of the stuff pertaining to her and Bex having a store strike me as not making a whole lot of sense knowing the exorbitant prices on the Upper West Side. It’s a miracle that they would have been able to afford more than a newspaper stand on the side of the street in the first, but it’s all in good fun.

Memorial Day has come and gone and summer is unofficially here.  This is a great book to grab and head out for some prime real estate on the beach or in a park, put on your shades, chill out and read.

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