The After Wife by Gigi Levangie Grazer
Published July 2012 by Random House Publishing Group
Source: my copy courtesy of the publisher
Hannah had almost given up on the idea of marriage and family when John Bernal walked into her life. Theirs was the classic case of love at first sight and five years and one wonderful daughter later they were living a fairy tale life. But when John is killed, Hannah's not sure that she can go on without him. Enter the Grief Team: Hannah's producing partner and three-year-old Ellie's wardrobe master, Jay; bitter, aging actress, Aimee; and mommy blogger and dog saver, Chloe.
Being a widow in L.A. is tough, Hannah's not sure she can ever face the idea of romance and sex again, and, thanks to a lapsed life insurance policy, Hannah and Ellie may just lose the only home Ellie has ever known. Then things get even harder when Hannah starts seeing, and talking to, dead people. It costs her a job and even her friends think she may have lost her mind. But the spirit world may be just the thing Hannah needs to pull her through.
The After Wife is surprisingly humorous, given the premise (it reminded me very much of Lian Dolan's Helen of Pasadena but with an even lighter tone), often bordering on just plan silly. Occasionally it felt like Grazer was pushing too hard and the characters were a bit stereotyped, but overall I enjoyed The After Wife. Which, I must admit, surprised me; I think I've mentioned before that I have a problem with suspending disbelief. But I got a kick out of Hannah's dealings with the spirits. For a vacation read, it was just right. A little love, a precocious child, a cast of funny supporting characters and a heroine I couldn't help but cheer for had me racing through the book.
Gigi Levangie Grazer is the wife of Hollywood producer Brian Grazer so she knows her way around her setting and it shows. She is also the author of The Starter Wife, which was made into a mini-series starring Debra Messing and of the screenplay for Stepmom, starring Julia Roberts and Susan Sarandon.