Maggie Finds Her Muse by Dee Ernst
Reviewed by Cardyn Brooks
Contemporary romantic women's fiction
In this madcap meta romantic romp author Maggie Bliss is struggling—with a narcissistic lover and a manuscript that refuses to write itself. An opportunity to travel to Paris, France “… with the promise of art, history, and two gay men on an unlimited budget…” seems like the perfect way to jump-start her stalled creative engine. Her trip takes her to unexpected destinations in mind and body. With cheerful self-deprecating humor in the tradition of “I Love Lucy" Maggie narrates her complicated life and the details of her overdue novel. Familiar tropes of the alphahole, the international playboy, second-chance love, the vacation fling and more are celebrated, dissected, and spun. A few outdated terms and attitudes are the only discordant pings.
Maggie shines as an upbeat pragmatist who has built her career by writing happily-ever-afters she's yet to achieve for herself. Her smoothly integrated complexity resonates with an authenticity that connects with readers and the other thoroughly nuanced characters: her agent and his long-time love, her grown daughter, her ex-husband, a potential new love, and even pivotal cameo appearances by her besties. And then there's Paris—and Rennes. (Think Sexand the City during the Baryshnikov season.) The historical landmarks, food, wine, fashion, and cultural mystique all enrich the textures of this charming escapist tale as homage to the substantive importance and joy of romance.
Published by St. Martin's Griffin, April 2021