Thirty-four year old, Mimi Finnegan is the third of four daughters and in her eyes, by far, the most unremarkable. She has no singular accomplishment that can stand up to any of her sisters. And if that isn’t enough, she is the only single sibling in her family.
Mimi’s sisters decide that it’s time she gets serious about husband hunting, so they begin a campaign to find Mr. Right for her. Considering her most recent dating encounters include a night club owner who stuffs bratwurst in his pants and a WASPy trust fund baby, living happily under his mother’s thumb, Mimi is more than ready to meet THE ONE. Enter celebrated British novelist Elliot Fielding.
Sexual tension and anger heat up between the duo and it isn’t until Mimi discovers that Elliot is almost engaged to another that she realizes she is head-over-heels in love with him.
The journey will make you laugh, cry and want to pull your hair out from frustration! Mimi eventually learns that she is quite remarkable in her own right and never needed to worry that she lived in her sister’s shadows.
The Reinvention of Mimi Finnegan is the perfect laugh-out-loud, feel good book for any woman who has ever felt that she wasn’t good enough.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
I love romantic comedies with all the quirky ups and downs and inevitable happy ending. Life and love are ridiculous, treacherous, and wonderful and we should laugh our way through the journey.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I’m not one of those authors who finds their characters. My characters find me.
My sisters spot me and advance en masse. Ginger arrives first and she’s glowing like she has a nightlight hidden under her skin, “Mimi, we were starting to worry.” Then adds, “Your hair looks great!” I can’t help but wonder why everyone is all of a sudden so worried about me. Normally, I could arrive three days late and not cause this kind of a hullabaloo.
Muffy arrives next, “There you are!” Then she eyes my outfit and declares, “You look very nice today.”
Renée pulls up and concurs, “You do Meems, very pretty.”
Staring at all of my sisters I can’t help but think that something big is up. While they love me and always greet me when I arrive at a family gathering, they are not prone to making a beeline straight for me, and dumping a load of compliments at my feet. Something is wrong. “Who died?” I ask.
Ginger giggles too loudly and playfully pushes at me as if to say, you silly goose.
Muffy laughs too, and repeats, “Who died? You crack me up!”
I look to Renée and plead with my eyes for her to tell me what’s going on. She links her arm in mine and pastes on her supermodel smile before leaning in and whispering, “Look like you’re having fun. We’re setting you up.”
“What?” I screech. Then a bit quieter, I ask, “What do you mean you’re setting me up? With whom?”
Ginger reprimands, “Lower your voice Meems or he’ll hear you.”
My eyes start to dart around the party looking for the elusive “he” that might hear me if I don’t quiet down. Yet I cannot seem to find anyone who appears to be single and the potential half to my whole. So I inquire, “Where is he?”
Ginger announces, “Over there.” Behind her hand she points across the lawn to the round tables that the caterers have set up. “The table closest to the pool.”
I follow her finger and discover the table closest to the pool is surrounded by a bevy of Renée’s friends. So I ask, “Is he a she? Have you all decided I’m a lesbian then?”
Renée interrupts, “He’s sitting down. You can’t see him from here because of all the ladies surrounding him.”
To which I comment, “Look, if he is so gorgeous and has already developed this kind of a fan club, there is no way on earth he is going to go for me.”
Muffy decides, “He’s not really that good looking if you ask me. He’s just got charisma.”
Ginger demands, “Not that good looking? Muffy, open your eyes, he’s distinguished, and refined and very easy on the eyes.”
Renée gets a saucy sparkle in her eye and declares, “I’d do him.” Then amends, “If I weren’t married and so in love with Laurent that is.”
I am beyond intrigued by all this fussing and clucking my sisters are doing. But instead of running over to the mystery man I ask, “Have I become so pathetic that the three of you have to find a man for me?”
Muffy answers first, “When was your last date, Meems?”
Ginger intercedes, “It’s not that we think you’re pathetic, we just want you to find someone to spend your life with. We love you and we want you to be happy, like us.”
I’m touched by my sister’s declaration, but still bristle at the thought they are trying to set me up. Renée adds, “Plus there just aren’t many single men around this area. Its past time we pull together as a family and do our part in finding you a husband.”
I laugh nervously, “I’m meant to marry him then?”
Muffy replies “Don’t be silly Meems. We just think it’s time that you start meeting some single men. He doesn’t have to be “the one,” but if you’re out there looking, you’ll eventually find the one.”
I announce, “Then you better take me over there so I can fight my way through the throng and throw myself at his feet.”
Renée gasps, “Not yet! I need to touch up your make-up and maybe find you a scarf first.” My sisters lead me, like a lamb to slaughter up, to Renée’s changing room and proceed to have their way with me. I feel like an episode of that old show “What Not to Wear.” But instead of two hosts tearing me apart, there are three.
Muffy begins applying lotion to my legs as she declares that they are dry and scaly. Ginger heats up the hot rollers as, this just in, big hair is back! Renée starts to accessorize me. If there was a chance in hell I could have fit into her post-baby curvy size eights, she would have made me change my outfit too. I have to say as irritated as I am that my sisters don’t think I’m fine the way I am, I really am enjoying watching my metamorphosis. Stand back caterpillar, the butterfly is on her way!
Just when I think I’m more gorgeous than I’ve ever been and am ready to go meet the mysterious man by the pool, Renée declares, “Your shoes are atrocious. You’re a nine right?”
I mutter that I am. She searches her closet and comes back carrying a pair of gold strappy sandals that must be at least three-and-a-half inches high, “These are perfect for your outfit. Put them on.”
Before I remember why I wore the loafers to begin with, I kick off my shoes and slip my feet into her delicate footwear. Muffy is the first to notice and gasps, “Mimi, what is that on your foot?”
Too late, the truth is out. Now my family knows I am no longer the one with pretty feet. I whisper, “It’s a bunion.”
Renée cringes and in horror asks, “A bunion? But how, when, why?”
There was no way I was going to mention Dr. Foster’s theory about extra weight and tendency to waddle so I explain, “Genetic weakness in the structure of my foot.”
Renée is in a quandary. The only other pair of shoes in her closet that will work with my outfit and cover the bunion is a pair of Giuseppe Zanotti hot pink Mary Janes. And while they are beyond gorgeous, they also require an advanced degree in cat walking to move in them. She makes me try them on anyway. It’s their oohs and aahs and usage of words like divine and perfection that convince me to wear them. Otherwise I would have realized they were an accident waiting to happen. As it is I decide Giuseppe Zanotti is a misogynistic fiend of the worst order.
Once I’m rigged out in all my new gear, the girls lead me toward the stairs. It finally occurs to me to ask, “Who is this guy anyway?”
Muffy answers, “He’s an author.”
I’m intrigued, “Really, what’s he written?” I’m guessing probably manuals for a software company or perhaps how-to books like, “How to Rewire Your House in Five Short Years.”
Ginger interrupts my reverie and announces, “He writes legal thrillers.”
Intrigued, I ask, “You mean like Elliot Fielding?”
Renée smiles, “Exactly! Because, (drum roll please) he is Elliot Fielding!”
“What? What do you mean he’s Elliot Fielding? Elliot Fielding lives in London.”
Ginger intervenes, “He needed a quiet place to work on his next novel and he decided Hilldale was exactly what he was looking for.” She adds, “Plus, Jonathan just signed Parliament on to launch his latest novel in America.”
To pull an antiquated saying out of my hat, I was gobsmacked. I didn’t even know Parliament was up for the job, let alone got it and I’m supposed to be aware of these things. It’s my job. Forgetting that Elliot is my potential future husband, I ask Ginger, “When did this happen?”
She answers, “Just last night. It’s all been very hush-hush. Elliot didn’t want a whole bunch of companies approaching him while he was in the states so he asked Jonathan to keep it on the QT.”
I have read all of Elliot Fielding’s books and I have loved each one better than the last. For the life of me I can’t figure out why my sisters think I have a chance with such a celebrated novelist. Well, actually, I can. They rightly assume I am a product of the same DNA they are which in and of itself makes me spectacular. Unfortunately, they wrongly assume that I have their innate confidence, which I just don’t. I go to Weight Watchers and I have a bunion. Elliot Fielding can do a lot better than me.
The next thing I know I’m being led across the lawn in Renée’s medieval torture devices. She advises, “Walk on your toes so you won’t sink into the grass.”
I glare at her, “Easier said than done.” I had just started to become used to the insert in my shoe and now I was flying without it and my comfortable loafers. Add to that, I am teetering on my tippy toes in drag queen shoes, and I’m pretty screwed here.
As we approach Elliot’s table, Jonathan looks up and smiles. He seems genuinely glad to see me and it occurs to me that he has not been made privy to my sister’s plans for his new client to join the family. So I smile back and he gives me a nice brotherly peck on the cheek, “Ah, Mimi, you’re here! There’s someone I’d like you to meet.” And just as I start to wonder if he really does know, he gestures to who I assume is Elliot and says, “Elliot, this is my sister-in-law, Mimi Finnegan. She is also my right hand at the office so as the book launch closes in, the two of you will be working together quite a bit.”
Elliot pushes his chair out and stands. His eyes slide up and down the length of my body and he smirks as he raises his left eyebrow in a supercilious question mark. I have no idea what that’s all about so I simply extend my hand and smile. “It’s very nice to meet you, Elliot.”
Instead of extending me the same courtesy, he tilts his head to the side, nods it once and declares, “Indeed.” Like, “Indeed, you should be happy to meet me.”
Well that settles it. I don’t care if he was well over six-two or his slightly receding strawberry blonde hair is the most gorgeous color ever or I find him immensely attractive. He’s ruined it for himself. I am not going to marry Elliot Fielding.
I rush to lower my extended hand back to my side, where it obviously belongs, when at the last moment he chooses to take it. I try to pull away as if to indicate he has had his chance and the offer is now withdrawn. I’m so peeved by his arrogance that I yank my fingers from his, setting into motion a domino effect I’m sure Renée will later claim ruined Camille’s party.
Elliot bends at the waist and gently touches his lips to my reluctant appendage in what I’m sure he assumes is a display of superior English manners, yet my whole body responds in an angry shudder. How dare he think he can “indeed” me and then put his mouth on my person. I yank my hand back, upsetting my very delicate balance, at the same time Elliot takes the hint and releases me. He does not attempt to aid me in any way as I fall backwards, straight into the pool.
As I’m flailing through the air, the world takes on the slow motion effect like a murder scene in the movies. I see everything around me in a series of freeze frame snap shots. Picture one: The smug countenance of one Mr. Elliot Fielding. Snap two: The judgmental faces of Renée’s stuck up society friends and number three: Jonathan’s wild-eyed attempt to reach out to help me, too late. The fourth picture has sound effects: Renée leaping towards me screaming, “Don’t get my shoes wet!” SPLASH!!!
As I hit the water it occurs to me a three point seven pound weight loss is simply not enough to balance the horror of this day. I was feeling so good about myself too. I begin to breast stroke to the shallow end and decide to just go home when I realize that if anyone should leave it’s the fancy pants writer. This is my niece’s birthday and I’m family. I’m staying!
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