Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

Twenty-nine-year-old Sophie Diehl is happy toiling away as a criminal law associate at an old-line New England firm, where she very much appreciates that most of her clients are trapped behind bars. Everyone at Traynor, Hand knows she abhors face-to-face contact, but one week, with all the big partners out of town, Sophie is stuck handling the intake interview for the daughter of the firm’s most important client.

After eighteen years of marriage, Mayflower descendant Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim has just been served divorce papers in a humiliating scene at the popular local restaurant, Golightly’s. Mia is now locked and loaded to fight her eminent and ambitious husband, Dr. Daniel Durkheim, Chief of the Department of Pediatric Oncology at Mather Medical School, for custody of their ten-year-old daughter Jane. Mia also burns to take him down a peg. Sophie warns Mia that she’s never handled a divorce case before, but Mia can’t be put off. The way she sees it, it’s her first divorce, too. For Sophie, the whole affair will spark a hard look at her own relationships—with her parents, colleagues, friends, lovers, and, most important, herself.

This truly excellent novel tracks the breakdown of a marriage and the development of a young lawyer in parallel- and is surprisingly entertaining! Sophie is a criminal lawyer not a divorce lawyer but when her straightforward manner captures the interest of a rich and powerful client, she finds herself tasked by the firm with taking on the case. The story unfolds through a series of letters, briefs, emails, newpaper articles, etc. and is nevertheless engaging from the first page. I found myself unable to put this book down, and delighted in the personal victories for Sophie (and Mia Meiklejohn Durkheim). Highly recommended!

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