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Babyville    by Jane Green order for
by Jane Green
Order:  USA  Can
Broadway, 2004 (2002)
Hardcover, Softcover, Paperback, Audio, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Shannon Bigham

Babyville is a telling title it is about women and babies. Some women want babies and some women do not want a baby near them, much less to go through pregnancy and give birth to one. Three women (Julia, Sam, and Maeve) are the central characters in the novel, which tells each of their stories. These women's lives are interconnected, as they mull over babies, marriages, relationships, and friendships.

Julia lives with her long-term attorney boyfriend, Mark. Julia and Mark work for the same company and live in a gigantic home that he purchased. He is handsome, caring, and has a domestic side that most women would swoon over. Mark cooks, gardens, and keeps the pantry stocked with food. However, Julia finds the house too big and has never felt at home in it. As for Mark's looks, job and domestic talents, Julia can no longer appreciate these wonderful attributes because she's obsessed with getting pregnant. Julia and Mark have been trying for a baby, to no avail. Mark agreed to a baby to make Julia happy. However, she's miserable and their relationship is on a slippery slope as it seems that Julia wants a baby more than she wants Mark.

Julia's best friend is Sam, who is married to Chris, a boy-next-door type. Sam is pregnant and as happy as she can be. She cannot wait to have the baby, quit her career for good, and settle down to the business of being a full-time mother and putting every effort into taking care of her newborn. Fortunately, Julia and Sam are such good friends that Julia does not let her jealousy about Sam's pregnancy get in the way. But reality smacks poor Sam in the face when she has her baby, and is at the whim of a colicky infant. Newfound motherhood is not nearly what she expected. As marital strife, unwanted pounds, and exhaustion rule Sam's daily existence, she ponders having a fling with a friend's husband.

Maeve is a different sort of woman. Into her career, she avoids commitment like the plague. She has no intention of settling down with a man, and babies are certainly not in her plans. Maeve happily climbs the corporate career ladder and is content to have an occasional fling and not be tied down to anyone or anything. However, Maeve's plans for a carefree, independent life drastically change when she winds up unexpectedly pregnant after what she intended to be a one-night-stand.

Julia, Sam and Maeve each enter a new phase in their lives, which Green describes with her usual panache and humor. I became a fan of Green's books after reading Jemima J and To Have and To Hold. Both were entertaining and the pages seemed to turn themselves after the first couple of chapters. Green has a talent for writing a highly readable book that also has emotional depth. This sets her novels apart in the chick lit genre. Green also uses humor to pepper her novels, but wisely does not overdo it. Every time I finish one of Jane Green's books I admonish myself for having waited too long to read it. Babyville is highly recommended to fans of chick lit, women's fiction, and to anyone who enjoys a feel-good story with heartfelt characters.

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