Tuesday, July 9, 2019

The Bookish Life of Nina Hill, by Abbi Waxman

Berkley Publishing Group, ISBN 9780451491879, July 2019

Nina Hill works in a bookstore and lives in her tiny apartment, both in the Larchmont neighborhood of Los Angeles. She has a cat named Phil, a mother who is a renowned, world-traveling photojournalist, and no other family.

As far as she knows.

Obviously there must have been a father involved at some point, but her mother has told her nothing except that he wouldn't have been a good father.

Then one day a lawyer walks into the bookstore, tells her that her father has died, and she's mentioned in the will.

She has several sisters, a brother, nieces and nephews, and even two grandnieces and a grandnephew. Her oldest sister, you see, is thirty years older, and her youngest is just ten years old. Her brother is just a few months older, because his mother was pregnant when Nina was conceived. It's a large and complicated family, with landmines she will need to discover.

No one else in the family suspected she existed. Her mother had offered William Reynolds an agreement absolving him of all financial responsibility in exchange for agreeing to never contact Nina. He accepted, and no one knew except his lawyer. But he included Nina in his will.

Nina is not prepared for a large and sometimes contentious family, some of whom welcome her and some of whom resent her. She's a quiet, shy, anxiety-prone individual whose idea of a quiet night out is book club or trivia night. She likes order, routine, no surprises. anxiety attacks are both debilitating and embarrassing.

I do so feel for Nina. Her trivia nights would be too much for me.

So, on top of whole new large, extended family, she really, really doesn't need the complication of her and the captain of a rival trivia team becoming interested in her. That's just too much, isn't it? It's even worse when she finds that being with him tamps down her anxiety. That's weird! When she's not with him, it's another thing to worry about.

You may think this doesn't make sense. Let me assure you, as a fellow anxiety sufferer, yes, it makes sense. It makes total sense, and is completely familiar.

I love Nina, I love her discovery of her new family, her discovery of a guy who might not be the terrifying trap most guys are for her. I love that Nina doesn't need to get "cured;" she just needs to embrace who she is.


I received a free electronic galley from the publisher via NetGalley, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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