Picks and Pans Review: Playing Away

updated 08/28/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/28/2000 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Adele Parks

At age 30 Connie Green has a handsome, loving husband, a good job, a fabulous home and a sweet, loyal bunch of friends. So what does she do? Ruin it all, of course, by falling for an oversexed rogue who reminds her of what it's like to be a party-hardy single gal again.

Through rosé-colored glasses, Connie mistakes her caddish coworker John Harding for destiny's dream man. Next to him her perfect husband, Luke, seems so ordinary. But the reader isn't fooled. In fact for a considerable chunk of her debut novel, Parks risks alienating some readers with a protagonist who is at best unsympathetic and at worst irritatingly stupid. Though amusing at times, with her wine-slurping and fat-obsession ("It can't be a bad thing if I'm losing weight," she says of her infidelity), Connie initially comes off as little more than yet another Bridget Jones clone—only she's married and not quite so funny.

Then, just in time, the balloon bursts—Connie finds her conscience, and the story takes a darker and more satisfying turn as she explores why it is that "nice girls have affairs too." Her soul-searching saves the day, if not the book. (Pocket, $23.95)

Bottom Line: Too little, too late

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