Television personality Deidre McIntosh has made her living hosting a Seattle-based program called “Live Simple,” a “Martha Stewart”-like guide for the modern woman. At forty, Deidre hasn’t paid much attention to her single status — busy, as she’s been, with her beloved TV show. She shares a great apartment with William, her longtime best friend, and luxuriates in their dinner parties and magazine-perfect existence.
But then William meets Alain, falls in love — and tells Deidre he’s moving out. And just as the hammer drops at home, a rival television station picks up a pilot from Marla Banks, a socialite who aims to run Deidre’s “Live Simple” into the ground — then does, through a series of caustic ad campaigns and eye-grabbing programming. Unemployed, alone and without direction, Deidre takes a step back from the chaos that’s become her life — and then meets Kevin, a local businessman who offers to let her stay at his second home in the mountains of Jacob’s Point, Washington.
Deidre barely hesitates before taking Kevin up on his offer, tempting though a life lived on William’s couch may have been. It’s in a small cabin in Jacob’s Point — and at Lake Wish — that Deidre begins to really think about “simple living” . . . and living in general. And with a little help from the locals, some good baking and new surroundings, things just might begin to change.
Mia King’s Good Things was a charming, fun story for anyone who has had to pack up their belongings and form a new life. The book hinged on the beauty of the locale, in my opinion, and Jacob’s Point didn’t disappoint. With its small-town charm and colorful characters, Deidre’s temporary home was abuzz with life — and just what she needed. After making a friend in Lindsey, owner of The Wishbone, Deidre begins to bake for the local restaurant and enjoy the success of watching people actually enjoy the amazing goods she’s prepared. You know, outside of a studio set.
What I loved about the story was the laser-sharp focus on Deidre’s career, which wasn’t a peripheral plot to the supposed “real” story in many women’s fiction novels: the romance. While I enjoyed the love story but could, of course, spot it a mile away, the story of Deidre and her new love interest wasn’t the novel’s sole focus. With a sister in television, I found all the “behind the scenes” glimpses of life on set to be fascinating — and I was glad King gave us a good look into that world.
While the story was predictable and the ending a little trite, I definitely don’t regret spending hours with King’s characters — and getting caught up in a good transformation story. Deidre felt like a friend who needed help coming up with some fresh ideas, and I loved watching her change and grow. Fans of women’s fiction will find Good Things to be an enjoyable, if not memorable, ride.
3.5 out of 5!