Paige Atwell is a stay-at home mom living in a ritzy neighborhood of a well-to-do suburb of Denver. Her youngest child has begun the first grade, so she now has entire days to herself and is unsure of what to do with her time. One way she occupies herself is by having coffee with friends, also housewives from the same income-tax bracket.
One of them, Karen, confides in Paige about an affair she is having with a Spanish barista named Javier. Karen insists she is in love with Javier and is considering leaving her stable marriage with Doug in order to pursue a passionate yet poor existence with Javier. This causes Paige to question her own marriage and life choices. Is she really happy with the life she is leading?
Soon Paigeís soul-searching takes a backseat to more pressing concerns after Karen is found dead in her own garage. Paige takes it upon herself to do some amateur sleuthing, since she is convinced she is the only one who knows about Karenís affair. When Paige later learns that Karen, who had wanted a baby for years, was pregnant at the time of her death, Paige becomes convinced that Karen was murdered, and her two prime suspects are Javier and Karenís husband, Doug.
Paige throws herself into investigating Karenís death, all the while refusing to tell her husband, her friends, and the police what she knows. Meanwhile, Paige finds herself attracted both to Javier and to one of the cops who comes to question Paige about Karen. Paige ultimately finds herself unsure of who to trust, and even more confused about her marriage and life choices.
While this may sound like a heavy premise for a novel, The Secret Desires of a Soccer Mom is actually very funny and entertaining. It is one of those books that is hard to put down once started, and the heroine, Paige, is hilarious and charming.
However, there are some plot holes. Paigeís reasons for not sharing her knowledge of Karenís affair with the police or her husband early on donít adequately justify her decision not to. Her friendships with the other women in the neighborhood are fairly superficial, and her relationships with her husband and kids also come off as unrewarding. There is never any explanation for why Paige, who had a successful career in PR, does not go back to work now that her kids are in school, or for why an intelligent and capable woman like herself lets her husband call all the shots. That part of the book is maddening, and it is unclear if the rewards Paige is working towards are really worth the trouble.
That said, the plot and the humor of the story make it well worth the readerís time. While The Secret Desires of a Soccer Mom isnít perfect, it is a huge lot of fun. Robyn Harding did a great job of writing about a serious situation in a funny way, and I recommend it despite the bookís flaws.