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Teresa's Reading Corner: Helen of Pasadena by Lian Dolan

Monday, November 8, 2010

Helen of Pasadena by Lian Dolan

Synopsis:  Helen Fairchild, is leading a privileged Pasadena existence: married to a pillar of the community; raising a water polo- playing son destined for the most select high school; volunteering her time on the most fashionable committees. It only bothers Helen a tiny bit the she has never quite fit in with the proper Pasadena crowd or finished that graduate degree in Classics or had that second baby. The rigid rules of society in Pasadena appeal to Helen, the daughter of Oregon "fiber artists", even if she'll never be on the inside.  And then along comes a Rose Parade float, killing her philandering husband and leaving Helen broke, out of her "forever"  house, and scrambling to salvage her once-rarefied existence. Enter Dr. Patrick O'Neill, noted archaeologist, excavator of Troy, and wearer of adorable nubby sweaters. A job as Dr. O'Neill's research assistant is the lifeline Helen needs to re-invent herself professionally, personally, and romantically. Helen's world widens to include a Hollywood star, a local gossip columnist, an old college nemesis, a high-powered Neutron Mom, an unforgiving admissions director, the best Armenian real state agent in the biz, and, of course, the intriguing Patrick O'Neill.  While uncovering secrets about Ancient Troy alongside her archaeologist, Helen discovers something much more: a new sense of self and a new love.
My thoughts:  I came across this gem one day while I was perusing twitter.  I saw the cover and was immediately interested.   The roses on the top and part of a woman running in heels carrying a trendy black handbag.  I wondered what it was about, what is she running away from?  At first I thought that it had to be chick lit (which is totally okay, I enjoy a little chick lit) but it wasn't.  I think its a more mature sister to chick lit.  Mari at Book Worm with a View called it smart women's lit.  I was thinking mom lit or some variation thereof.  It doesn't have the party all the time vibe that some chick lit has and the characters are all a bit older with children. 

I really liked Helen.  She wanted more than anything to be like the rest of the Pasadena wives.  As hard as she tried, she didn't quite manage it.  It is a reminder that even though we try to escape our parents sometimes, their influence has a way of following us.  I loved that she took everything that happened to her in stride and did what needed to be done in order to move on.  Her friends were the perfect complement to her non typical Pasadena persona.  I don't want to reveal too much of the story because I want you to pick it up, but I will tell you there is a love story and a surprise ending.

Recently released in Paperback on November 1st this is one that is worth picking up, I'm thinking stocking stuffer for a girlfriend or sister (or yourself) along with a gift card to their favorite coffee shop.  You know that they (you) deserve it.

About Lian Dolan: Provided by publicist.
Lian Dolan  is a mother, wife, sister, friend,  daughter, novelist, writer, and talk show host.  She writes and talks about her adventures in modern motherhood for her website, and her weekly podcast, The Chaos Chronicles.  Lian has always used her voice to take on all aspects of motherhood, from common-sense parenting to all-consuming school volunteering to overcoming handbag envy.  She is known for her humorous take on the day-to-day issues that face women everywhere. The Chaos Chronicles is currently being developed by Nickelodeon as a half-hour comedy.
Prior to The Chaos Chronicles, Lian spent a decade hosting Satellite Sisters, an award-winning talk show that she created with her four real sisters. Satellite Sisters has won 11 Gracie Allen Awards for Excellence in Women’s Media, including Talk Show of the Year in 2006. On air, Lian has interviewed everybody from Bill Clinton to Nora Roberts to Maya Angelou. Lian is the Executive Editor of the Satellite Sisters website.
 In addition to her work on air, Lian is a writer.   Her first novel, “Helen of Pasadena” will be published in November, 2010 by Prospect Park Books.  She is also weekly relationships columnist at . Previously published books include “Satellite Sisters UnCommon Senses,” published in 2001. Her writing has been featured in many national magazines including regular columns in O, The Oprah Magazine and Working Mother Magazine. 
Lian has appeared numerous TV shows including The Today Show, CBS Sunday Morning and The Oprah Winfrey Show.
She lives in Pasadena, California with her husband and two sons. Her dream is to ride on a Rose Parade float. 
To read more about Lian Dolan, please visit

Check out the rest of the Helen of Pasadena tour at Pump up Your Book

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At November 8, 2010 at 5:57 AM , Blogger Liz said...

I like the sounds of that book! I will have to see if my library has it. I'm in a non-fiction mode at the moment (though that will change quickly, no doubt), deeply involved with a great book about the JFK assassination written by one of Kennedy's Secret Service agents, Gerald Blaine. Wonderful, interesting look into the lives of the agents, beyond the assassination itself. Imagine -- you're Kennedy's agents. Boom. Assassination. Now you're LBJ's agents. Blaine is so highly respected by the surviving agents and the families of those who have died that the agents (and family members) shared with him and his co-writer anecdotes, photos and very personal memories that haven't been written about before.

At November 8, 2010 at 10:04 AM , Blogger Rebecca Camarena said...

Teresa thanks for your book review and helping to promote this author.

At November 8, 2010 at 10:06 AM , Blogger Coffee and a Book Chick said...

I've heard about this book and am excited to pick this one up!

At November 8, 2010 at 12:06 PM , Blogger Juju at Tales of said...

Love the cover and your point about our parents.

At November 9, 2010 at 7:26 AM , Blogger Roving Reader said...

This book sounds really interesting! Looking forward to checking it out.

At November 9, 2010 at 11:36 AM , Blogger Mari said...

So glad you enjoyed this one. I loved the journey of self discovery.

At November 9, 2010 at 8:47 PM , Blogger Rebecca Camarena said...

Thank you Teresa's Reading Corner for hosting this author during her book tour.


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