“Not many women can say they’ve been left for season tickets to seats on the 50-yard-line at Ohio State football games.” Thus begins COUNTRY CLUB WIVES, a contemporary parable about women, money, and homeless animals set in the affluent suburb of “New Wellington,” Ohio.
Although the plot centers around the fate of four self-proclaimed “drama queens,” the heart of the book belongs to its first-person narrator, Tish McLean, who has been left high and dry, both financially and emotionally, by her husband of over 20 years. Brian is about to marry Susan, anther drama queen, a wealthy widow whose spouse unexpectedly died of a heart attack and Tish’s one close unattached friend.
Tish goes from inheriting a $250,000 tax-free, which she immediately spends on a house, luxury car, and membership to New Wellington Country Club (“The Club”) to near-poverty, while drama queen CeCe, her sister-in-law, leaves Brian’s not-too-bright brother Brett for an independently wealthy businessman, receiving not only a healthy divorce settlement but an upgraded, lavish lifestyle. Shelia, the only drama queen unscathed by marital upheaval, builds a home in the most expensive and exclusive part of New Wellington and then discovers a lump in her breast. And then there’s Susan, “the social chameleon who slithered away” with Brian, who believes that being alone is the worst fate of all.
At the novel’s outset, the women are in their late 30s and very much concerned with appearances, getting their kids into the right schools, and living in the most prestigious neighborhood possible. By the end of the book, all are grappling with deeper issues. Tish, whom a boyfriend once pegged as “beautiful but with the soul of a nerd” struggles not only to realize her dream of opening a shelter for abandoned cats and dogs but also with her love for Dr. Nick Fairchild, a very married veterinarian. How she achieves her professional goals, financial self-sufficiency, and personal happiness, despite losing nearly everything, is the core of the novel.
There’s sex, drama, and murder, not to mention lots of reveals about the cubic-zirconium studded underbelly of a fiefdom developed by a local billionaire. One dollar from each novel sold will go to various local and national no-kill animal shelters.