She, Myself & I

 
Good Luck
by Whitney Gaskell
(Bantam, $5.99, PG-13) ISBN  978-0553591514
****
On the worst day of her life, Lucy Parker wins the lottery. To begin with, she gets fired for unfounded allegations of sexual misconduct involving a student.  This most likely means she will never be able to teach again, a vocation about which Lucy is passionate.  On her way home her "vintage" Volkswagen breaks down in the middle of the highway.  And then, just to top it all off, she finds her boyfriend, Elliott, in her bed with another woman.

When Lucy awakens the next day to discover she's won the lottery, she's more terrified than anything else.  Although her financial problems have become moot, Lucy knows becoming a multi-millionaire will cause an altogether different set of difficulties -- and she's more right than she could have guessed.  Suddenly, her sister's over-the-top wedding becomes even more so, her best friend is jealous of her, and there is a horde of reporters lurking like vultures at her front door.  The latter have dubbed her the Lottery Seductress, which is the final straw.

A call from her college roommate, Hayden, offering refuge takes the two of them to the beach home (or palace) that Hayden's family owns in Palm Springs.  Lucy is absorbed into a new culture of spend, spend, spend.  She spends her days shopping and her evenings socializing, making up for lost time with Hayden in the meanwhile.

Lucy, using her mother's maiden name, tells herself she is content to remain hiding in Palm Springs indefinitely. However, her subconscious frequently reminds her that the lap of luxury is, for one thing, not what she originally had in mind for her winnings.  For another, the life of the idle rich doesn't suit her at all.  Lucy, though she's enjoying her makeover, her new clothes, and especially her new car, doesn't recognize herself anymore.

Drew, the man Lucy's been dating, doesn't know anymore about her life than what she's told him -- which is a far cry from the whole truth.  On the other hand, slacker tennis player Mal, whom Lucy meets in the bar where Hayden's boyfriend tends, has not only figured out her true identity, but seems to know her every thought and rolls with the punches she throws.

As Mal points out, Lucy has a habit of taking things at face value.  She'll learn in a quick twist that not only is that true, but it will come back to bite her in the butt.  When the truth of Lucy's life back home comes out, her little fling with Palm Beach comes to a screeching halt -- but will she be able to go back? And will she ever be able to mend all of the relationships that have been damaged in one way or another by her status as a millionaire?

Good Luck represents a new era of chick lit.  Lucy is neither as fatally flawed nor as endlessly lucky as many a woman in your usual chick lit.  However, Good Luck certainly doesn't center itself around romance.  Yes, Lucy has relationships, but the novel itself is about change and growth and counterproductivity.  No one is perfect in this book, especially not our heroine.  Likewise, there is just one character that is truly "bad" (Elliott), and even that can be explained by the sort of person that he is.

Interpersonal relationships abound in this novel, but readers shouldn't have trouble keeping characters separate. Each one is very much an individual, and they all fit into a pretty specific niche in Lucy's life.

A charming and occasionally alarming combination of wit, whimsy, fairy tale, and scandal rag, Good Luck will please most fans of women's fiction of all genres.

--Sarrah Knight


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