British author Phaedra Patrick (The Secrets of Love Story Bridge) consistently treats readers to stories with heartfelt plots and memorable, quirky characters. In her fifth novel, The Messy Lives of Book People, Patrick sticks with that winning formula, telling the story of an ordinary woman who is stretched beyond her comfort zone and is challenged to build a better, more fulfilling life.
Liv Green, middle-aged wife and mother of two adult sons, is a British cleaning lady whose postponed dreams of writing are suddenly reinvigorated when she lands a gig working for one of her literary heroes, bestselling author--and notorious recluse--Essie Starling. When Liv is caught secretly reading a work in progress--the 20th entry in Starling's popular Georgia Rory series--the standoffish, enigmatic author puts Liv on the spot, asking for her honest, writerly opinion. Nervous, Liv gives a tactful yet unabashed opinion. Later, she second-guesses being so forthright. Essie's lawyer contacts Liv soon after this: Essie has died after a surgical procedure. She left specific instructions that she wanted Liv to finish the novel in progress with the stipulation that Essie's death and Liv's ghostwriting be kept secret. This sets Liv on a confidential quest to conjure what Essie might have had in mind for her latest novel, the projected last in the series. However, it's Essie's real-life story that Liv ultimately unravels, one filled with unpredictable twists and turns that are as adventurous as the Georgia Rory novels themselves.