What was the secret ingredient?

Crimes Against a Book Club
Kathy Cooperman
Lake Union Publishing, May 2017
Kindle, 322 pages
Genre(s) Women's lit, Cozy read, Debut novel
Source Amazon Prime First of the Month bonus

Best friends Annie and Sarah need cash—fast. Sarah, a beautiful, successful lawyer, wants nothing more than to have a baby. But balancing IVF treatments with a grueling eighty-hour workweek is no walk in the park. Meanwhile, Annie, a Harvard-grad chemist recently transplanted to Southern California, is cutting coupons to afford her young autistic son’s expensive therapy.

Desperate, the two friends come up with a brilliant plan: they’ll combine Sarah’s looks and Annie’s brains to sell a “luxury” antiaging face cream to the wealthy, fading beauties in Annie’s La Jolla book club. The scheme seems innocent enough until Annie decides to add a special—and oh-so-illegal—ingredient that could bring their whole operation crashing to the ground.

Hilarious, intelligent, and warm, Crimes Against a Book Club is a delightful look at the lengths women will go to fend for their families and for one another.

My Disclaimer:  I was provided a free copy of this book for my Amazon Prime First of the Month bonus. I am providing an honest review for which I am receiving no compensation of any kind. All opinions are fully my own.
~ Judi E. Easley for Blue Cat Review

My Review:  
Can you believe this is a debut novel? Wow! It simply blew me away. If I hadn't had to stop and sleep and then get my hair cut, I would have read this in one sitting. It had me glued to my tablet right from the beginning. Having lived in San Diego for five years, I was familiar with the areas being talked about in the book and the attitude of the population there. So, this book was particularly interesting to me. No, I didn't live in La Jolla. I didn't even go to the beach there. But I did occasionally drive out and enjoy the beauty of the area.

The characters that Ms. Cooperman created are absolutely wonderful. I'll bet we all know a person like each one of them. They were so real. We all have someone in our lives who will do just anything for us at the drop of a hat. And I bet we all know someone that we'd really like to be able to rely on, but they just can't quite follow the rules once we leave the room. Then there's the spouse who due to the daily grind has started taking the spouse for granted a bit. But give that forgotten spouse a real chance to shine and the forgetful spouse is back to remembering why he's so proud of her and that he loves her. Ms. Cooperman didn't create characters, she created a group of people caught up in a lifestyle of keeping up with the Jones'. Some set the pace, some spend their time keeping up, and some spend their time destroying themselves with the effort of it all.

The author either has personal experience or did her research well on the many areas of expertise in her book. She's got lawyers and a chemist. She's got a woman going through IVF. She's got the country club atmosphere of La Jolla's restaurants and living rooms down pat, too. It all sounded real to me. Yes, I did occasionally get to sit in the living rooms. And she's well read. All those headers of appropriate books and excerpts weren't there by accident, you know. Well, the law business she comes by easily...she was a lawyer.

The story line was excellent. The characters well-written, as I've noted. The pace of the whole book was great. No bogging down or racing through things. It was written and edited well. I think I'll have to keep an eye out to see what she writes next. This is a very impressive book and I'm putting it on my to read again list, with an eye on my favorites list. I definitely recommend this to all readers of women's lit who like that really good women's story where the relationships get all swirled up and then settled down in the end when everyone seems to get what they deserve.