Thursday, June 28, 2007
First novel of Chico native's wife is a captivating contemporary romance
By DAN BARNETT
Darrin Gee was raised in Chico but in 2000 he and his wife, Darien Gee, moved to Hawaii to tend to Darrin's Spirit of Golf Academy.
Though Darien had been a well-paid consultant, she says in her Amazon biography that "I felt the nagging call to write something other than client proposals and corporate finance reports."
And now it's happened. Writing under the name of Mia King, she has published "Good Things" ($14 in paperback from Berkley/Penguin, www.miaking.com), which was listed on the Barnes and Noble general fiction trade bestseller list. The story is a page-turning modern romance featuring 40-year-old Seattle-based Deidre McIntosh. Her Martha Stewart-like home show is abruptly canceled when a rival TV station begins its own lifestyle show with socialite Marla Banks; on top of that, when her gay best-friend roommate moves out to join his French-doctor boyfriend, Deidre is left alone, single and unemployed. Then she loses her lease.
Deidre's life seems to be crumbling around her until she meets a man named Kevin Johnson. His gaze was "steady, attentive, intelligent. And handsome wasn't the right way to describe him; devastatingly handsome was more appropriate." It's mutual attraction, and their lives, haltingly, begin to intertwine. As King deftly plots the course, she fills her tale with the delights of hot food and hot sex (and even offers recipes for "orgasmic corn fritters" and "chocolate cherry crackle cookies" in a postscript).
Kevin is something of a corporate jet-setter but he has a retreat near the very small town of Jacob's Point four hours from Seattle, near Lake Wish, and he invites Deidre to stay there while he is away. Deidre finds a small cabin and moves in. Appalled at first by the dirt, she sets to cleaning the place. She meets Lindsey, owner of the town restaurant, The Wishbone, which refers, says Lindsey, not only to the lake but also to food, "about finishing a good meal down to the wishbone. My kids think it's about people, because you can't pull a wishbone by yourself, you need another person."
Over the next few weeks Deidre begins selling Lindsey some of her maple walnut scones in origami parchment pockets, just to raise some money. They're a hit. Deidre knows she won't stay in Jacob's Point forever, but how can she finance the pilots for her proposed new TV series?
Deidre has much to learn about the meaning of success. "Once you believe in yourself," Lindsey says, "the right people show up to help you." That's the nature of good things.
Dan Barnett teaches philosophy at Butte College. To submit review copies of published books, please send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2007 Chico Enterprise-Record. Used by permission.