The Wife of Reilly
Paperback, 304 pages
Published January 1st 2004 by Kensington Publishing Corporation
When Prudence Malone attends her college reunion, she expects to catch up with her girlfriends and visit the campus she left in the eighties. Over the homecoming weekend, she runs into her college flame -- the one who got (okay, ran) away. The one she’s never forgotten. As they spend time together, both Prudence and Matt realize that their post-graduation break-up was a mistake. On Sunday afternoon, Matt impulsively proposes and the two plan to wed that summer. But before marrying Matt, Prudence has a problem to deal with -- her husband Reilly.
Prudence could divorce Reilly like a normal person, but she’s far too wacky for that. Her solution is to secretly find a new wife for Reilly to replace herself after she and Matt marry. This shouldn’t be too difficult, she decides. After all, she lives in Manhattan where there are plenty of single women. And she can enlist the help of her three best friends: a costume-wearing advertising executive, a saucy single mother and a level-headed gay artist.
Though the newly engaged couple lives on opposite coasts, Prudence still finds herself in as series of near-misses trying to keep Matt and Reilly unaware of the other’s existence. Ever-fumbling Prudence gave her new boyfriend the idea that she is a widow. Her husband has no idea that his wife has a fiancé in California.
Through singles ads and a “Wife of Reilly” gallery exhibit, the gang of four meets New York’s nuttiest single women looking for love. Among the pack, Prudence crosses paths with a recovering lesbian who has just graduated from Straight Expectations rehabilitation center, a horrifying mirror image of herself, and an aspiring writer who lost interest in her own memoirs mid-draft. Along the way, Prudence is rejected by an insipid kindergarten teacher, pumped for investment tips by a demanding attorney, and swarmed by wannabe wives of Reilly. And she finds herself intensely jealous of a creative young playwright who declared Reilly “damaged goods” after learning that he is not actually Prudence’s brother (as she originally claimed).
Through her eight-month search, Prudence ultimately helps find the next wife of Reilly, though not at all in the way she had originally planned. Somewhere along the journey, she discovers something far more important – herself.
This book has some really funny moments and lines in it. It also reaffirmed to me why I love having what some call "old fashioned" values. The whole concept of having an affair and trying to make it ok just doesn't sit well with me, although it was funny to see how far she went to try and rationalize her actions. There were a few references and moments that were a bit TMI for me too. Overall, I just kept being glad my life is nothing like this book and I won't be reading this one again.