Other Romantic Comedies by Elinor Lipman

  • Into Love and Out Again: Stories
    Lipman’s short stories are filled with sweet, complex people in unusual relationships: gentle Tim, for instance, falls madly in love with unwed Hannah, who is in the ninth month of her pregnancy; sad Clair at last finds a true lover but breaks off with him because she senses parental disapproval of his low status as a supermarket produce man; Martha and Carl tenderly, tentatively exchange love and body fat. The stories, charming in a finely etched way, contain some wry, delightful twists of plot and oblique, often painful, dialogue. These people slide by each other, connecting only on occasion, their connections graced by both joy and despair, much ambiguity, and accommodation to different kinds of love.

  • Then She Found Me
    April Epner teaches high school Latin, wears flannel jumpers, and is used to having her evenings free. Bernice Graverman brandishes designer labels, favors toad-sized earrings, and hosts her own tacky TV talk show: Bernice G! But behind the glitz and glam, Bernice has followed the life of the daughter she gave up for adoption thirty-six years ago. Now that she’s got her act together, she’s aiming to be a mom like she always knew she could. And she’s hurtling straight for April’s quiet little life…

  • The Way Men Act
    Unmarried at age thirty, Melinda LeBlanc grows tired of helping her dull former classmates plan their weddings and wonders why her romantic interludes are limited to an occasional meaningless horizontal encounter.

  • Isabel’s Bed
    Traveling to Isabel Krug’s Cape Cod dream house in order to gather information for a sensational biography, tabloid writer Harriet Mahoney encounters the femme fatale’s soap opera-like philosophies and becomes inspired to fall in love.

  • The Ladies’ Man
    Thirty years after abandoning his intended bride at their engagement party, a charming Harvey Nash shows up on the doorstep of his former fiancee and her sisters, all spinsters, and soon discovers that scorned women do not make the most gracious of hostesses.

  • The Dearly Departed
    The untimely death of her mother brings Sunny back to small-town King George, New Hampshire, the scene of her unhappy adolescence, where she discovers old family secrets and a possible half-brother she never knew she had.

  • The Pursuit of Alice Thrift
    Workaholic wallflower Alice Thrift, a socially inept surgical intern at a Boston hospital, is pursued romantically by Ray Russo, a social-climbing, somewhat shady purveyor of carnival fudge, until her roommate, nurse Leo Frawley, and neighbor, Dr. Sylvie Schwartz, decide to take on the task of guiding Alice through the social complexities of life.

  • My Latest Grievance
    Chafing under the claustrophobic care of her liberal parents, Frederica Hatch finds her snug world transformed by Laura Lee French, a new college dorm mother who had once been married to Frederica’s earnest and unglamorous father.

  • The Family Man
    Reunited with his long-lost stepdaughter by an ex-wife’s hysterical plea for help, gay lawyer Henry Archer allows the young woman to move into his basement, where she reluctantly poses as the girlfriend of a down-on-his-luck former sitcom star.

Some of Elinor Lipman’s Favorites

  • The Habit of Being: Letters
    by Flannery O’Connor
    A collection of more than eight hundred of Flannery O’Connor’s letters.

  • The Republic of Love
    by Carol Shields
    Fay McLeod and Tom Avery are likable souls: kind to their parents, close to friends and co-workers, dedicated to their professions (she’s a folklorist, he’s a radio talk show host). But thus far both have been unlucky in love. Fay has never married; Tom has married and divorced rather too often. Participating on the periphery of lives of married friends has begun to pall. They finally meet, and it is a coup de foudre for both, but Fay is leaving that night for a month of mermaid research in Europe. Even when she returns, their affair is jeopardized by upheavals in others’ lives. Can a woman of letters find happiness with a spokesman for the commonplace?

  • The Razor’s Edge
    by Somerset Maugham
    Leaving wealth and loved ones behind, Larry Darrell journeys to the mountains of India in search of spiritual wisdom.

  • Jane Eyre
    by Charlotte Brontë
    A Victorian governess’s love for her mysterious employer is threatened by the tragic secret of his mansion.

  • Daddy Long-Legs
    by Jean Webster
    Orphaned Judy Abbot relates her college adventures in letters to the mysterious benefactor that she calls Daddy-Long-Legs.

Compiled by Forbes Library Staff | Summaries from ContentCafe, NoveList, and enotes.com | October 2010