Marianne Moves On

Author: Barbara Schnell

Genre: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Romance, Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, Humor

Type: Novel

Summary: Small-town girl Marianne decides to leave her sheltered life and domineering mother for adventure in Los Angeles. Boy, is she in for a shock. She sees a naked man on stage; she gets HBO! She also falls in a serious case of ‘like’. The guy wants to get married. Should she? Well…

Why I liked it: it is a sane, funny, no-stupid-misunderstandings, no ridiculous plot twists, no unrealistic sex-god-six-pack men romance, with real characters and a refreshingly different, relatable, independent heroine.

And now for the chatty part!

I was barely one page into Barbara Schnell’s “Marianne Moves On” when I found myself chuckling. Schnell’s writing style is light, witty, and enjoyable, and the book is humorous in an intelligent way. Even if you didn’t have a domineering mother, you’ll feel for Marianne and understand her plight, but still laugh at the absurdity of the mother-daughter relationship and at the way Marianne deals with all her new experiences.

Marianne is a refreshing example of a heroine who is young but mature in her thought process, inexperienced but strong and fully capable of taking care of herself. She may not know exactly what she wants in life, but she goes about her relationships and her career in a breezily pragmatic way. She has fun and allows herself to get carried away at times, but she still doesn’t lose her focus. Having spent my twenties in a haze of insecurity, depression, and uncertainty, Marianne is the young woman I wish I’d been.

There are no explicit sex scenes in the book, but Marianne goes about discovering sex in the same not-taking-it-too-seriously way she does everything. This was a breath of fresh air. Instead of the unrealistic soul-rending passion of some romances, never mind the explosive orgasms some heroines are lucky to have even when losing their virginity, Marianne is not too excited about her first sexual experience and resolves to practice more, because practice makes perfect! This is how peoples’ sex lives really work, and finally, finally an author wrote about it in a way that still made it very interesting to read.

Another plus point: no stupid misunderstandings. This is one romance trope I absolutely can’t stand: the “he thinks she doesn’t like him, she thinks he doesn’t like her,” and the whole thing is not resolved for many thousands of words for no humanly understandable reason. Schnell stayed away from that cliche, and it was a job well done.

If you absolutely need a lot of drama and tears or overwhelming emotions to enjoy a book, maybe this is not for you. But: I am a very, and I mean excessively intense person, and there’s passion, tears, drama aplenty in my books. Still, I enjoyed Marianne’s adventure very much, and if I did, then chances are you’ll enjoy it too.

Grammar, syntax, style: nearly flawless, very few errors, and good use of commas (this is one of my pet peeves–why do people hate commas so much?). It doesn’t get much better than this for a self-published book. The only criticism I have–and I’m being a pedant here!–is that sometimes (rarely!) you’d have a full paragraph of sentences starting with “I,”– I did this, I did that, I went there. It was just a little tiring, but it didn’t detract from the overall quality of the book.

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