I received a copy of How to Un-Marry a Millionaire by Billie Morton in exchange for an honest review.
Ricky Hart wants to the get the hell out of small-town Arizona to escape the fate of generations of women in her family – a boring, nothing future.
Inspired by Basia Johnson, a penniless cook who married into the Johnson and Johnson fortune, Ricky sets in motion a plan to get inside a rich old man’s house. Once there, she will do the rest. She is twenty-two years old, blonde and unashamedly brazen.
And she is ready to make a deal with the Devil.
What she hasn’t counted on is seventy-year-old Sanford Keane, the Arizona Copper King, a notorious sonofabitch with an agenda of his own, and a family with a long history of other ambitious wives.
One of them is Suzanne Nelson-Drummoyne-Graff-Carmel, a serial marrier who has finally found love. Unfortunately it is not with her latest husband. At war with her mother-in-law, PHILIPPA, a legendary old viper and trophy wife of another era, Suzanne is thirty-seven and terrified that she is about to hit her “use-by” date.
From the richest enclaves of Connecticut and Manhattan to the wilds of the Arizona desert and New Mexico, the novel brings these women together on a raunchy, life-changing encounter that will make them question the roles they have chosen for themselves, and the high price they have all paid to live the pampered life of a rich man’s wife.
How to Un-Marry a Millionaire sits quite comfortably in the humor section. From the very first page Billie Morton had me hooked. I read the whole book in almost one sitting because I had to know what happened next and how these disparate, desperate female characters would converge. Starting with rough-around-the-edges upstart Ricky Hart then jumping to elderly socialite Phillipa Carmel and middle aged gold digger Suzanne with the four last names, this novel takes you on a roller coaster ride from the very beginning.
Exquisitely written, Morton full embodies the unique and distinct voice of each character, at any point you could randomly turn to a page, and having been introduced to the characters, know who’s speaking without being told. You know Ricky by her seemingly hair-brained quips and Phillipa by her eccentricity and Suzanne by her clawing need for acknowledgment. And this reader isn’t ashamed to say that she found something to identify with in each of these fictional women. Morton weaves a masterful web! (With the exception of a few math issues in the review copy, that I hope are corrected in the final edition.) Her screenwriting talents are clearly at work here, this reads like a movie, with wild action, crazy close-ups, and beautiful panoramics.
Puzzled by the title until the very last page, I found How to Un-Marry a Millionaire refreshing, funny, engaging and a fantastic twist on the rags to riches story. Anyone who loves revisionist fairytales will get a strong kick out of this. I certainly did.
Rating: 5 Stars
Billie Morton is a British screenplay writer and film maker who originally set out to make documentaries about tribal life. Along the way she took a detour to California where she spent many years filming the natives and their social customs.
How To Un-Marry a Millionaire is her first novel. It was inspired by meeting young – and not so young – women across the globe all busily performing a colourful array of mating dances. Some were dancing as fast as they could. Others were looking to take a little time and add love to the dream. And some were grabbing the microphone at the nearest karaoke bar to belt out Tina Turner’s classic – What’s Love Got To Do With It?
These were the ones she chose to write about from her new home in the rainforest of northern Australia.
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