Leslie Carroll’s Herself takes readers from New York to Ireland and back again as Tessa Craig embarks on a journey to find, well, herself.
Political speechwriter Tessa Goldsmith Craig seems to have it all - an attentive lover, a job she loves, and great friends: a stripper named Venus and Tessa’s own cousin, Imogen. Those friends keep her standing when her personal world crumbles in a very public way.
Tessa’s boyfriend is none other than Congressman David Weyburn, the man for whom she writes. The topple happens during a public appearance at a health club in Manhattan, during a water aerobics class. David suffers a heart attack and is brought back by instructor Kelly Adonis, igniting rumors that David is hiding a preference for men, which is blatantly false.
Although Tessa and David have not been open and public about their relationship, a challenger exploits the incident and David pulls away from Tessa, telling her that he wants to end their relationship but that he wants her to keep working as his speechwriter.
Following Weyburn’s announcement that he wants to end their relationship, Tessa seeks solace in the company of her friends, who convince her to go away and find adventure, if not love, in a faraway land. That adventure comes in Dublin, Ireland.
Exploring, Tessa quickly falls in love with the city, and during her first days there, Tessa meets Jamie Doyle in his family’s pub, Blackpools. Despite her desire to be alone, that first meeting escalates into something more, much to Tessa’s chagrin. She documents that encounter in her journal:
I met an interesting man tonight. His intelligent eyes blazed with an internal flame and he smelled a bit like fish. And I’m angry. Not that Jamie Doyle wasn’t pleasant…he was very nice, in fact, but he sort of wormed his way under my skin and robbed me of my ability to stand up for myself and express my needs. And that’s what this trip was supposed to be about!
The next day though, she changes her tune when it comes to the Irishman.
I seem unable to resist Jamie Doyle, at least in the short run. I am having such fun in his company that I’m neglecting the reasons I flew across the Atlantic in the first place. The third day of my weeklong vacation is about to begin and I still crave the chance to be alone with my thoughts for more than an hour or so at a time.
Just days into her trip, David comes to visit, again asking her to come back to work for him; again, Tessa turns him down. Things move quickly during this weeklong vacation, and soon Tessa finds herself going home with Jamie in tow. Once home, her career takes off.
David drops out of the race for his re-election, and the party must scramble to find a new candidate. Their
choice? Tessa Goldsmith Craig.
This 296-page paperback release from HarperCollins’ Avon imprint, Carroll’s fourth novel, is a quick and engaging read.