Elizabeth the First Wife

Imagine falling madly in love with an aspiring actor in college, marrying him and, then, just before he achieves mega-stardom, he divorces you. You're left heartbroken, broke and forced to watch him become ridiculously wealthy and famous. This is the premise of Lian Dolan's second novel, Elizabeth the First Wife, but what begins as a rather bleak set of circumstances becomes a joyous and delightful tale of a woman scorned reclaiming her mojo.

It hasn't been easy for the jilted Elizabeth Lancaster since the Brad Pitt-esque FX Fahey did her wrong. She's found solace in underachieving--teaching Shakespeare at a community college and wearing sensible shoes--but this is unacceptable to her overachieving family, and they make much ado about nothing as they try to snap her out of her funk. Poor Elizabeth; she just wants to be left alone to grow tomatoes in the dirt and moon over her lost love.

When FX suddenly reappears in Elizabeth's life desperately needing her help, Liz suddenly holds all the cards. This sets into motion a series of events that makes for a delicious journey of self-discovery that will leave you shaking your head happily at what fools these mortals can be. And the rub? The novel is interspersed with snippets of Shakespearean dialogue (and how they'd work as come-on lines) along with modern assessments of timeless characters. Perhaps it's the likable and resilient Elizabeth, but Dolan's invigorating take on this material proves once again that the Bard never goes out of style. --Natalie Papailiou, author of blog MILF: Mother I'd Like to Friend

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