Reader, I Married Him

Michele Roberts, Author Pegasus Books $13.95 (229p) ISBN 978-1-933648-02-6
Roberts exhibits a jaunty sense of the absurd in her winking 12th novel, which follows the capers of Aurora, a suspiciously thrice-widowed Brit who takes a holiday in Padenza, Italy, following the death of her third husband. At the invitation of her best friend Leonora, an irreverent feminist abbess, Aurora settles in at a Padenza convent. Roberts (Booker-shortlisted for Daughters of the House) humorously guns for the Catholic Church-Aurora's nunnery getaway turns out to be anything but chaste. She embarks on a steamy affair with Father Michael, who may not be what he seems (a priest), and enjoys a flirtatious friendship with the local museum director Frederico Pagan, also not exactly who Aurora thinks he is (gay). The twisting, turning plot-involving drug smuggling, museum theft, and Aurora's late mother's gun-plus Aurora's Emma Bovary-esque tendency to live her life through lessons plucked from fiction, make for more sophisticated reading than a summary suggests. Though overly reliant on shock tactics and exaggerated psychological abnormality, Roberts provides a puzzle-like pleasure in story and character, and a memorable, if sensationalized main character whose attempts to define herself through men have left her dangerously empty and disappointed.
Reviewed on: 05/01/2006
Release date: 05/01/2006
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