Book Review: She’s Up To No Good


For two women generations apart, going home will change their lives in this funny, poignant, and life-affirming novel about family, secrets, and broken hearts by the author of For the Love of Friends.

Four years into her marriage, Jenna is blindsided when her husband asks for a divorce. With time on her hands and her life in flux, she agrees to accompany her eccentric grandmother Evelyn on a road trip to the seaside Massachusetts town where much of their family history was shaped.

When they hit the road, Evelyn spins the tale of the star-crossed teenage romance that captured her heart more than seventy years ago and changed the course of her life. She insists the return to her hometown isn’t about that at all—no matter how much she talks about Tony, her unforgettable and forbidden first love.

Upon arrival, Jenna meets Tony’s attentive great-nephew Joe. The new friendship and fresh ocean air give her the confidence and distance she needs to begin putting the pain of a broken marriage behind her.

As the secrets and truths of Evelyn’s past unfold, Jenna discovers a new side of her grandmother, and of herself, that she never knew existed—and learns that the possibilities for healing can come at the most unexpected times in a woman’s life.

My Review:

This book was part of the Kindle First Reads program for either June of July. I can’t remember which. Anyway, I didn’t see anything that especially appealed to me so I took a chance on this book, and I’m glad I did.

I’ve never gone through a divorce, but I can understand how life can beat someone down until they’re incapable of moving on. That’s the point where Jenna is at in her life when her grandmother Evelyn demands that she take her to the Massachusetts seaside town where she was born. I thought this was probably going to a whole book about a road trip, but it wasn’t. Lots of the story took place after they got to Massachusetts.

The book is set in the 1950s and the present. Evelyn tells the story of a past love in the 1950s while Jenna talks about the present. One chapter will be from Jenna’s viewpoint, the next from Evelyn’s.

I liked both of them, especially Evelyn. She was a true free spirit who almost always lived her life the way she wanted to. There was one exception, though, and he’s part of the reason she came home. Evelyn is the one who pushes Jenna out of the rut she’s fallen into since her husband asked for a divorce.

There was some nice humor in the book that I think you’d like. I also think you’d like the lessons Evelyn imparted to Jenna with the story of her ill fated romance in the fifties. She grounds Jenna and teaches her to move on and love again.

It’s a nice read that I enjoyed very much. Do you think you’d like it?

About Elaine Cantrell

Elaine Cantrell was born and raised in South Carolina. She has a Master’s Degree in Personnel Services from Clemson University and is a member of Alpha Delta Kappa, an international honorary sorority for women educators. She is also a member of Romance Writers of America. Her first novel A New Leaf was the 2003 winner of the Timeless Love Contest and was published in 2004 by Oak Tree Press. When she isn't writing you can find Elaine playing with her dog or maybe collecting more vintage Christmas ornaments
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6 Responses to Book Review: She’s Up To No Good

  1. I think that I would like this, Elaine, after reading your review. I did glance at the offering and never think to get back to these. I remember this one because I immediately thought of the movie “Road Trip”, and as much as I liked the movie, I wasn’t sure I wanted to experience another generational road trip. I am glad that you posted this.
    BTW, have you seen “Road Trip”? I saw it when I was homebound and alone a few years
    back. It is a good story about a chemist who is desperately trying to promote his one big and
    great invention, a safe cleaning formula into which he has sunk every penny and he thinks, every ounce of energy he has. His mother is very clinging, a widow without a life. She confessed to the son that there was one, big love in her life that was not her husband, his father. The son reluctantly takes his mother with him, and secretly plans to find her old love when they hit California. They drive across the country and they learn to open up and live along the way. (Barbra Streisand is fantastic as the mother.)


  2. Jeff Salter says:

    I think I would enjoy the scenes / chapters which detailed 1950s life.


  3. Patricia Kiyono says:

    This sounds like such a wonderful book that I immediately purchased it. I love stories with family interaction across generations. Thanks for sharing it!


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