Call Waiting
Michelle Cunnah
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Call Waiting

Michelle Cunnah
320 pages
August 2004
rated 4 of 5 possible stars
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Thirty-year-old Emma Taylor has experienced eight months of dating bliss with her handsome and kind architect boyfriend, Jack. While she is happy with their relationship, she is not completely fulfilled because she feels that it is time to take their relationship to the “next level” – living together and marriage soon thereafter. Emma believes that she is good enough for Jack, although she’s aware of the fact that she’s terribly thin and her 32AA-sized chest is not much to look at. However, her relationship with Jack is wonderful, and all her friends think that Jack is great, so Emma believes that an invitation to move in with him (if not an engagement ring) is forthcoming soon enough.

On the morning of Emma’s thirty-first birthday, Jack hurriedly prepares for a last-minute business trip with his beautiful, full-breasted and blonde boss, Claire. While Emma is disappointed that Jack has to work on her birthday, she tries to understand and she tries to blot out images of the cool, beautiful boss that Jack works so closely with on a project in Boston that slowly but surely takes Jack out of town with Claire very regularly. It seems that Claire, new to town, is trying to “take over” Emma’s life by stealing Jack away from her - and all of her friends, too. No one except Claire’s gay friend, Sylvester, can see the malicious gleam in Claire’s eye as she charms Emma’s friends, flirts with Jack, and tosses underhanded comments Emma’s way to make her look like a fool.

Emma is reeling over Claire’s behavior, and it is frustrating because Jack cannot “see” what Claire is doing, nor can most of Emma’s friends. While Claire’s evil ways play out in the novel, Emma is dealing with a boring job at an advertising firm. Emma’s family is eccentric with her mother being a feminist attorney living in London and Emma’s father lives locally and is a plastic surgeon that is remarried to Jack’s sister, Peri. Emma’s friends, comprising three women with their respective boyfriends or husband and a gay couple, David and Sylvester, round out the novel. Emma counsels her friends on their various relationship problems and issues, although it is hard for Emma not to feel alone sometimes, because everyone except Sylvester has sidled up to Claire because she is “so wonderful.”

Call Waiting is Cunnah’s second novel after her debut, 32AA, was a success. Fans of Cunnah and fans of chick lit will also enjoy Call Waiting, which has a cast of colorful, interesting characters. Emma is a highly likeable gal and I couldn’t help but cheer her on as she tried to protect “her turf,” Jack, from Claire’s wiles. As the novel moves forward at a nice clip, Claire’s life marches on even though she feels like she’s “on hold” sometimes where her relationship with Jack and her career are concerned. While Call Waiting is not particularly unique in the chick lit genre, it is enjoyable and funny, which helps counter the plot’s somewhat predictable course.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at © Shannon I. Bigham, 2004

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