I have long wondered why category author Jennifer Greene never moved
into single titles. Long recognized as one of the best writers of short
contemporary fiction, I thought that she would be a natural to try the
longer format. Well, it has finally happened and I am glad to report
that The Woman Most Likely To... has all the qualities we have
come to expect from this author: fully developed characters, a a well
crafted plot, and not one but two lovely romances.
The Woman Most Likely To... is a “second chance at love” tale.
When they were in high school, Susan Sinclair and Jon Laker fell in
love. Despite the differences in their social status - he was the scion
of wealth and privilege while she was the daughter of a struggling
farmer - they were convinced that theirs was true love. Then, disaster
struck; Susan got pregnant.
Jon wanted them to get married; he was sure they could make it. Susan,
whose unhappy parents had been forced into marriage by an unplanned
pregnancy, was less sanguine. As her class’s “girl most likely to
succeed,” she had seen education as the way to escape the confines of
Copper Creek, Michigan. Marrying Jon would have meant giving up her
dreams of college for a risky teenage marriage. So she left town, had
her baby, and worked her way through college. Susan had raised her
daughter Becca as a single parent, although Jon had provided support and
remained involved in Becca’s life. She had achieved professional and
financial success, even if her career is currently facing some
A frantic call from Becca brings her back to Copper Creek and forces her
to face her past and her future.
Becca had fled to her widowed grandmother’s home when she faced personal
problems. She discovers that her once staid and repressed grandmother
has changed dramatically. After over thirty-five years of an unhappy
marriage, Lydia Sinclair has discovered fun, men and orgasms. Becca,
convinced that Lydia has lost it, calls her mother. After all, Susan
had always been the family’s problem solver and both Lydia and Becca
clearly have problems. Susan immediately comes to the rescue, only to
realize that she too has problems.
Susan discovers that Becca seems to be repeating her and her mother’s
pattern. She too faces an unplanned and unwelcome pregnancy. As she
and Jon deal with their daughter’s dilemma, they find themselves dealing
with their own relationship and the feelings they have buried for over
As always, Greene creates real characters with realistic problems.
Neither Susan nor Jon has ever gotten over their first love. Neither
has ever been able to establish another relationship. Both have to come
to terms with the fears and feelings that shaped their actions all those
years ago. Greene portrays their growing mutual understanding with a
Lydia and Becca, while theoretically secondary characters, are as fully
developed as the hero and heroine. All three women come to realize that
the past has tremendous power to shape human actions, but also discover
that only by confronting that past can its hold be broken.
The Woman Most Likely To... straddles the boundary between
romance and women’s fiction. Yes, it hews to the conventions of
romance, but it also offers a fascinating portrait of relations between
mothers and daughters and between the past and the present. Jennifer
Greene’s single title debut does not disappoint. The Woman Most
Likely To... is contemporary romance at its best.