Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Cocktails for Three - Madeleine Wickham

Date of Reading: 04/02/2015
Author: Madeleine Wickham
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Place: New York
Year: 2006
Rating: 4.5/5

         As most of the Sophie Kinsella books have passed my 'read' list, there was no other way but to shift the attention to Madeleine Wickham ones, though the novels are quite of a different taste and it is hard to believe that they are from the same pen. And after much soul searching in different reading groups, here I am, with 'Cocktails for Three' a story blended with love, humor and mystery.
         Three cocktails, that is what Wickham offers in this single volume; three stories with their sole connection knotted around a cocktail bar in Manhattan, involving the lives of three women who are unable to say 'no' because they are too good and is determined not to fail. And that is their hubris -- by not opening completely to their best friends and by keeping up the image of the invincible lady, they lose their battles . . . or almost. This is not an Aristotelian tragedy but a story that reminds us of the significance of relationships (whether that is friendship, love or marriage) and the importance of asserting one's identity and above all, not to be ashamed of yourself.
         
Candice, Roxanne, and Maggie are three best friends who work in the fashion magazine, Londoner. Maggie is an editor, Candice conducts interviews, and Roxanne is a glamorous freelancer. In the first of every month they meet together for cocktails in a quiet Manhattan bar, which by the beginning of the story has become quite popular and therefore noisy.
         All three has a secret not shared to anyone. Roxanne is having a secret affair with a married man. Maggie is in the advanced stage of her pregnancy but she is afraid of motherhood but her proud self doesn't allow her to give a hint even to her best friends. Candice's father had robbed people of money by persuading them to invest on his schemes and the details revealed only after his death shattered her life along with her mother.
         On this particular day in the bar she finds an opportunity to diminish the guilt that weighs on her, when she meets her high school classmate Heather Trelawney. Heather's family has gone bankrupt due to their association with Candice's father and she dropped out of school when her parents divorced. Candice assists her in getting  a job in Londoner and even shares her flat with Heather against the better judgement of her friends. But Heather had other goals in her mind.
          As per her husband's wish who wants their children to grow up in an unpolluted environment, Maggie moves to a country mansion where she feels utterly alone in spite of the frequent visits of her mother-in-law. And the arrival of the baby exhausts her completely but she is too embarrassed to ask for help.
         Roxanne is devastated with her secret lover, Ralph, who is the owner of the Londoner. He refuses to go for a divorce as his little son may not comprehend the situation. But now his days are running short due to the attack of cancer that is creeping on him, a fact he hides from his lover. 
Madeleine Wickham
           Meanwhile Heather has started her moves. She makes Candice do her works, steals her ideas and finally succeeds in splitting her from her cocktail club friends. She soon loses her job too for a crime she has not committed but forged by Heather. 
         Ralph dies leaving his house to Roxanne and thus gives legitimacy to their relationship. And when Maggie breaks down in frustration her mother-in-law intervenes asking her son to take equal responsibility in taking care of their baby. They decide to move back to London so that Maggie can resume her job.
         Candice finds her refuge in Ed, her rich neighbor who always wanted her to understand his secret feelings. The calamity brought down by Heather brings them together and she learns from Heather's brother that she was offered education and security by their stepfather but she just chose to rebel.
          Roxanne and Maggie clears Candice's name and their friendship is back on track. Story ends with the baptism of little Lucia and she is welcomed to their cocktail club.

1 comment:

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