Christian chick-lit star Billerbeck has moved on from her popular Ashley Stockingdale trilogy with an engaging new novel that features struggling fashion designer Lilly Jacobs, and her two best friends Morgan and Poppy. The trio met at Stanford, and they couldn’t be more different. Morgan’s the down-to-earth daughter of a wealthy diamond dealer, while Poppy is a tie-dye-sporting chiropractor who’s always prattling on about nutrition and energy. Now in their late 20s, the three are still best friends, and they make periodic trips to a spa when life gets too rough.
As the novel opens, Lilly’s just been passed over for a promotion, and discovers her boyfriend has been two-timing. She decides it’s time to launch her own couture company. Along the way, Morgan gets ensnared in a curious May-December romance, and Lilly falls for a gold-digging Brit she meets at church. As if her plate weren’t full enough, Lilly’s birth mother, who abandoned her as a baby, turns up out of the blue; what’s more, $20,000 of Lilly’s start-up money vanishes. But all’s well that ends well: Lilly finds true love and is trumpeted as the next Vera Wang. Snappy dialogue and lovable characters make this novel a winner. (Oct. 4)
Cheering for my pal Kristin! You go, girlfriend!
Part II: The most important part of any book is the beginning. I’m second-drafting and have this for an opening. Whaddya think? Does it grab you?
Silence, as thick as wool, wraps itself around me as I enter the judgment hall. When I fold my hands, the chink of my chains shatters the quiet.
The tribune looks up from the rolls of parchment on his desk, his eyes narrow with annoyance. I don’t blame him. I am not a Roman citizen, so I have no right to a trial. Besides, I have already confessed and am ready to die.
My appearance here is a formality, an exercise in Roman diligence before the application of Roman justice.
The tribune’s eyes flick automatically over my form, register my sober tunic and veil, then return to an unfurled parchment in his hand. “State your name for the record.”
“Mary,” I say, using the Greek form for his benefit. “But my people call me Miryam. Miryam of Magdala.”
Hope that works! If not, there’s always draft three!