Monday, March 24, 2014

The Divorce Papers

Title: The Divorce Papers
Author:  Susan Rieger
Publication Information:  Crown Publishers, Crown Publishing Group, Random House Inc. 2014. 461 pages.
ISBN:  0804137447 / 978-0804137447

Book Source:  I received this book through a publisher's giveaway free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "I don't think humans as a species, are very highly evolved ... Look at all these people:  they're all smart, well educated, meaningfully employed, living in the richest country in the world, surrounded by people who care for them. Still they're unhappy and misbehaving. What more do they need? What more do I need?"

The Divorce Papers is literally a chronology of a divorce proceedings. The book tells the story through the official documents - affidavits, court papers, interview transcripts - and the correspondence - emails, memos, letters - associated with a divorce case.

Sophie Diehl is a young attorney practicing criminal law. She has absolutely no interest in divorce cases. One weekend, however, her boss assigns her to conduct the beginning interview for a divorce case. The client is the daughter of one of the firm's most influential clients. All the divorce attorneys are away for the weekend. Sophie has no choice.

Things become more complicated when the client Mia then specifically asks for Sophie to be her lawyer moving forward. Once again, Sophie feels she has no choice. She agrees.

Sophie is now dealing with:

  • David, the partner who is Sophie's mentor but who also insists she take the case.
  • Fiona, another partner in the firm who does not like Sophie and who happens to be the firm's leading divorce attorney (can we say sabotage?)
  • Mia, the client who is an intelligent composed woman seeking to fight her influential husband and protect her ten year old daughter.
  • Mia's father, a prejudiced man who is also one of the firm's key clients.

Surprisingly, the book develops the characters and the storyline through these documents and correspondence. The divorce case proceeds, and the reader learns about the heartbreak when a marriage ends. The intrigues and politics within the firm continue with accusations, meetings, apologies, and other maneuverings. Along the way, the reader also learns about Sophie's personal life, particularly through her correspondence with Maggie, her friend who has nothing to do with the law firm but who acts as Sophie's sounding board and support system.

It took me a while to get into the book, but it does pull you in. The book is a very quick read. I did find myself skimming through some of the more legal documents such as statute descriptions, reference case narratives, and settlement offers. Those sections add to the completeness of the story, but don't necessarily move the story forward. The story really "happens" in the correspondence. Those sections create the pace of the story.

Through the correspondence, Mia and Jane's real and sad heartbreak comes through. Sophie's trials and tribulations come through and those are entertaining and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny. An unusual and entertaining book.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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