Newport Jane – Katie Bieksa

Summary: From the outside, Ellen has it all: a glamorous new life in a sun-soaked city more like a movie set than the small Northern town where she grew up, and her very own McDreamy. But being married to a gorgeous, brilliant cardiac surgeon also means standing in his shadow, putting aside her dreams to follow his—and having way too much time home alone to think about how much she’s given up to follow him to California. 

While Ellen loses touch with herself and the people she loves, she’s welcomed by sophisticated women who approach life and marriage in ways that make her question her small-town values. When she learns shattering information about her husband—and then meets an irresistible, dangerously attentive man—the questions she asks herself become more urgent. 

Who are we without our work, home, family and friends? What is happy? (From Goodreads)

If you’re a hockey fan, you’ll recognize that last name. Yes, I’ll admit it. I found out about this book because I’m a huge Anaheim Ducks fan. But let me tell you, this is not a book that was created just because the author has a sports-famous husband.

It’s good. Like really good.

What I thought was going to be a light and fluffy read about dancing around beautiful Newport Beach was actually a very beautiful and haunting profile of a woman trapped in her husband’s light. I think a lot of women (me included) have been in a relationship where we’ve lost ourselves to our partner and Bieksa does a great job of diving deep into that.

The emotion of the main character, Ellen, was believable but also very readable. She was a complex and wonderful character, something you don’t always see in “chick-lit.” There’s a twist and it’s pretty heartbreaking, but also very well done.

I knocked off a star just because some of the scenes were rushed. Overall, great debut novel.

Rating:  ★★★★☆

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