Monday 4 October 2021

Book ~ "Fishnets & Fantasies" (2021) Jane Doucet

From Goodreads ~ Wendy Hebb has been a fisherman’s wife for forty years. She has also been a mother, a yoga instructor and part-time soap maker. She loves her life in picturesque Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, but it’s just not enough anymore. With a burning entrepreneurial desire, she decides that when her husband, Paul, retires, it will finally be her turn to live out her dream. The catch: her dream is to open a sex shop. 

While Paul begrudgingly goes along with Wendy’s “half-cocked” idea, it’s out of a sense of guilt; a recently spilled secret has their marriage on the rocks. As soon as the townspeople get wind of Wendy’s plans, it opens up a whole other can of worms - and Paul finds himself bait for the local rumour mill. Her silent, “invisible” partner in the project, he secretly hopes her plan for the shop will fail.

Orbiting around Paul and Wendy’s story is a motley crew of characters including the Hebbs’ daughter, Ellen, a feminist academic who catches the eye of a lady-killer coworker while home for the summer; Wendy’s best friend, Betty, a chain-smoking seamstress with secrets of her own; the local minister and her husband, who secretly indulge in role play; and the wealthy Sonya and Booth, who will stop at nothing to make sure the shop never opens its doors - as long as they can avoid discussing their failing marriage.

Paul has been a fisherman for 40 years and though it's breaking his heart to sell his boat and license, he knows it's time to retire.  His wife, Wendy, has been waiting for this day as she plans on opening her own business when Paul retires.  Over the years, she has tried many things and now has her sights set on opening a sex shop in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia, the small town where they live about an hour's drive from Halifax.  

Paul resists as he's concerned with what his friends and the other townsfolk will say and think.  But Wendy doesn't care and she has the support of their adult daughter, Ellen, and her friends.  Sonya and Booth had gone to high school with Wendy and Paul and had made it big in Toronto.  They recently moved "back home" and are opposed to Wendy's plans and try to rustle up enough people in town to sign a petition to stop it.

What initially caught my attention to this book was that it was set in Nova Scotia (and I'm originally from there).  I wasn't sure what to expect from the description and subject matter.  But it was a cute story and I liked it.  The writing is in third person perspective in the voices of various characters including Wendy, Paul, Ellen and more and they use lingo and sayings that a Nova Scotian would use (especially Wendy's friend, Betty).  I liked that the characters were "mature" ... they were my age, on the cusp of turning sixty.  Plus the author used actually places in Lunenburg ... for example, the bar that Ellen works at during the summer is an actual place (I was curious and Googled).  As a head's up, there is swearing and discussions of adult activity.

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