Book Review: Beatrice Munson

Book: Beatrice Munson

Genre: Chick Lit / Contemporary Fiction / Women’s Fiction

Author: Lorena Bathey

Cover Critique:

The cover is quite simple and gives an impression of a hand-made drawing. Though it makes sense after reading the story, it definitely has room for improvement. I like the whole concept but maybe bright colors would have made it more attractive and eye-catching.


This is a story about Marissa Lyons, a divorced woman in her forties with two kids, which made me think that why is the book named after some other character? Well, I found out soon as we get introduced to Beatrice in the first chapter. In the opening scene, we see Marissa spying on one of her neighbours who have just moved in. This peculiar neighbour is, Beatrice Munson: smart, beautiful blonde and her high-school arch enemy. Why she hates Beatrice so much? Because in high-school, she had a crush on this cute guy named Jeffery, but he chose to date Beatrice instead of her. Hang on, let me tell you that it was not Beatrice’s fault, nor was she “mean” to our "insecure" heroine in any way.

Anyways, let’s move on to what happens next. Years later, she still holds that grudge against Beatrice and fears that she will steal every one’s attention due to her impressive personality and beautiful looks. With those negative thoughts and just a smidgen of self-esteem, she bakes some delicious cupcakes (her mom’s favourite recipe) which is just a great excuse to meet her and find out why she has landed in her neighbourhood and more importantly, in her life again.

Soon, we are surprised to see that Marissa has not only forgotten about her hatred, she is also totally captivated by Beatrice’s charm. Looks like, Beatrice has moved her magic wand and Marissa is under the spell as she finds her an epitome of all-good. Is that because Beatrice’s crazy, adventurous and exciting life, makes her feel small in front of her? Does she envy her for being so passionate and daring and wishes secretly that she could be like her and follow her dreams? Read the book to find out!

This book sucked me right in with its warmth, passion and high dosage of good humour, along with ample twists and turns to keep me hooked from first chapter till the very last pages. The characters are drawn in such a way that you feel like they are part of your neighbourhood and like your friends with whom you can share your secrets and feel comfortable. In spite of their faults, they are well-rounded, realistic, relatable and extremely adorable.

The writer has kept a very candid and frank style throughout the story which made me feel as if I was reading someone’s private diary, written without inhibitions and with utter honesty. Though this book is Lorena’s first novel, she is successful in involving the reader into her fictional world of memorable characters so much that the readers lose track of the real world around them. I think this speaks volume of her calibre as a writer.

The book is aptly named after Beatrice whose character is like some sort of “guru” or a “revolutionary spiritual leader” who has the power to convince people and bring a positive change in their lives. She makes things "happen" rather than just sitting and dreaming about them. She infuses this spirit in the whole neighbourhood with her presence and ideas.

There is Marissa, who lacks confidence and guts. She does not want to take charge of her life but soon, she finds herself acting on her long-lost passion of photography by opening a studio and joining a newspaper as a journalist. Soon, all the ladies of Vista Heights: Andrea, Lily, Deidre get spontaneous and the whole neighbourhood catches “Beatrice fever”. They start embracing opportunities lying in front of them, thus explore and widen their horizon.

The book is a joy-ride full of excitement and nervous energy. It reminded me of Katy Perry’s upbeat song, “Firework”! There is lot of activity going on, which keeps the story fast-paced. It also delves into the various aspects of divorce, marriage, flirtations, friendships and much more but in such a way that it does not burden the reader; instead it is heart-warming and enlightening. There are laugh-out-loud funny scenes, especially the one with drag queen parties. I was stumped by Lola Rau’s character and wanted to read more and more of her. There is a lot of mention of yummy food, which made me hungry, looks like Lorena is fond of tasty treats! *smiles*

Apart from fun surprises, there is also a rape scene. But it has been written in a very mature way and it did not make me gag, so I think the writer pulled it off neatly.  I loved this book as the story reached a satisfying climax and gave many underlying messages as well. Well done Lorena! I would love to read more of Lorena’s work in future too. Highly recommended!

Review Girl Rating: 9.5/10

“I would like to thank Lorena Bathey for sending me a free copy of her book, Beatrice Munson for the purpose of reviewing it on my blog. To buy this book on Amazon, click here. You can also buy this book from her website, by clicking here.” 


  1. It's awesome when a writer can pull things off "neatly." I like it when things are written with class ;) It sounds like a great read.

  2. Great review.Will surely check it out. Do you have plans on doing a review on diary of a social Butterfly or tender hooks by Moni Mohsin?

  3. @Elisabeth: Thanks dear!:)

    @Pandora's Box: Thanks for your encouraging words. Sure, give it a read, lemme know how u find it.

    Moni Mohsin..I am hearing the names of these books for the first time..will check out book blurbs and see if i am interested to read them. Thanks for letting me know!:)

  4. What a great review! Sounds like a refreshing book--set in the suburbs, but not just about mommying. And what a positive message. I'm going to check this one out.

  5. @Anne: Thanks so much for your lovely feedback! It is worth reading this book because its full of original ideas and there is not a single dull moment...I was either smiling or laughing while reading this book..pick it up!:)

  6. Thank you for such an amazing review! I am so glad you loved the book!

  7. I really enjoyed your review! After reading your review it sounds like a book I would enjoy reading.

    I found you through Book Blogs and signed up to follow you. When you have a chance- please stop by the blog for my middle grade novel that I am hoping to get published. http://thesecretdmsfilesoffairdaymorrow.blogspot.com/
    Take care-
    Jess- although I may show up as Fairday, the main character from my novel. I can't figure out why that happens sometimes and I can't fix it. :)

  8. Fantastic review, Komal! I felt like I was reading the book!

    I am definitely adding 'Beatrice Munson' to my 'to acquire' list! I will try to remember to let you know how I enjoyed the book.

    I love the cover of this book!! It would definitely catch my attention in a bookstore.

    Thank you for posting this review, Komal,

    Choose Joy!!


  9. Nice review Komal! The novel seems to be very interesting. Theme is unique n so is the title. Im definitely going to read this.

  10. @Lorena: I love books that fill me with positive energy...that's what ur book did for me!:) Thanks for enjoying my review.

  11. @Jess: Thanks for liking my review and suggesting your blog, I just had a look, it seems gr8 for 5th grade children..wish u all the best with ur book! I am also following you on twitter now! Yay!:)

    @Patricia: Thanks so much for your lovely and detailed feedback...so glad u loved my review so much...I would love to know your thoughts once u r done reading this book!:) Stay tuned in for guest post and an amazing GIVEAWAY from the author of this book!:)

  12. @ankhseojhal: Always feels great when my regular commentators appreciate me and keep me going! Look out for Giveaway to get this book for free...coming soon on my blog!:)
    Till then, keep reading my blog and have a nice weekend!

  13. wow great review Komz I take it you liked this one!!! xx

  14. Komal, thank you for this fantastic review. I love the book too, and Lorena is going to be on my radio show in September. I love these synchronicities! Isn't it wonderful when women "get together" virtually? I love the energy!

  15. Loving this blog, the feel, and the reviews. Do pay me a visit, (my blog i mean lol) when you are chanced.... I am an author, and i would love to be interviewed on your blog, and maybe do a guest post... http://theseven-piecestone.blogspot.com


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