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Crossing Washington Square (2009)

This is one of those books that I am so happy I read. The day I was browsing the bookstore, I remember picking it up off the table and putting it back down two or three times. My hesitation was more about spending money on another book than it was on the story itself. But something about the description just stuck with me and I had to have it. This book has what I consider the perfect elements of a chick lit novel - a New York City setting, strong, intelligent women wrestling with their lives (and each other), and of course, a love interest or two. The fact that these women are English professors referencing centuries of women's fiction was the icing on the cake for me. Diana Monroe and Rachel Grey are both English professors at Manhattan University with completely different areas of study. Diana is a tenured expert on Sylvia Plath and Rachel has just moved to New York to teach contemporary women's fiction. They clash from the get-go and things between them become further strained when visiting Harvard professor Carson McEvoy vies for the affections of them both. When they agree to co-lead an undergraduate literary trip to London, they are forced to interact on a new level and end up learning about themselves, and each other, in the process. An engaging, smart story showing you can't always judge a book by its cover, especially when it comes to people. (LEK)

The Professors' Wives' Club (2008)

A garden nestled within Manhattan U provides a refuge for the faculty wives - so they are upset when they hear it's earmarked for a carpark. For award-winning writer Mary, who is married to the dean behind the carpark plans, she has finally had enough of his bullying ways and is planning on escaping to San Francisco once their daughter's wedding is over. Art student Hannah, married to computer science whiz Michael, uses the garden to paint - and escape her guilt over her affair with an art tutor. Sofia, a former Hollywood agent who's married to an expert in Edgar Allan Poe, spends time there with her young children; while Ashleigh is wondering how she's going to tell her Republican senator father that she's living with a woman. The women band together to save the garden and uncover what Mary's husband is up to - and why he is suddenly so interested in Poe. Even though it doesn't take a Rhodes scholar to figure it all out, you'll enjoy the genuine character studies.

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