When I learned that author Jane Doucet was from my neck of the woods, I made it my mission to read her books. Happily for me, her books are so much fun that it was a piece of cake!
Jane Doucet “never planned to write fiction, but when she looked for a lighthearted novel about motherhood indecision that didn’t end with “She had a baby and lived happily ever after,” she couldn’t find one. That’s when she got the (absurd) idea to try writing one herself. In 2017, Jane self-published her debut novel, The Pregnant Pause.”
Most women have been there in some way at some point. Should I have a baby? When should I have one? Does my partner want one, too? Could I have one on my own? Sometimes I feel like I want a family and sometimes I don’t. In my case, the question was, should I have 4 or should I stop at 3? Different, but similar enough that I can imagine the painful indecision of a woman trying to make such a life-changing choice as her biological clock ticks away. Because having a best-before date really adds on the pressure.
For Rose, the pressure to make a decision is complicated not only by her age but by the fact that her husband is five years younger and not (yet) interested in starting a family. But when Rose thinks about her sister’s beautiful family, she wants that for herself. On the other hand, Rose adores being an aunt and feels as though putting her efforts into aunthood could be fulfilling.
Although this indecision is the main theme of the book, Rose also has a life, friends, extended family, a fulfilling career. So the reader does not get bogged down with the flip-flopping baby-fever thoughts going on inside Rose’s head. Lots of other delightful thoughts are in there as well.
Not long after reading Pregnant Pause, I got my hands on Doucet’s newest novel Fishnets & Fantasies, which I enjoyed even more. It even made me laugh out loud which is not easy to do. Reviews from Doucet’s website describe the book as “an absolute delight”, “a sassy good time and a great giggle” and “cheeky and charming.” All true. And a reviewer on Goodreads pointed out that it’s refreshing to read about people who are living their best lives after the age of 45.
Fishnets & Fantasies is about a couple in their late 50s who want to open up a sex shop in their hometown of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. You can imagine the gossip that would ensue in a small town where everyone knows each other – sometimes their whole lives.
What I love so much about this novel is the small town feel; the nosy neighbours, the married couples, the eccentric singletons – they all have a story and we get to be in on it. It’s also a fun read for locals who are familiar with Lunenburg, Halifax, and Keji. How many of us have gone into Venus Envy thinking at first that it was a book store? (Or maybe that was just me…)
Wendy and Paul have been married forever and they still haven’t lost their spark. However, opening up a sex shop is a whole other thing. Paul, a retired lobster fisher is hesitant (to put it mildly) about his wife’s new idea. (“Have you thought about what are friends are gonna think about you ownin’ a sex shop?… I don’t even think you should call it that. It’ll scare some people.”) But Wendy is energized by her new idea and thinks it’s just what the town needs. (After all, people will no longer have to drive all the way to Halifax for their We-Vibes and flavoured lube!) Some residents of the town are all for it while others not so much. There’s no doubt, however, that their adventures along the way are a joy to read.
Wendy pointed out the vegan condoms. “Vegan? Do people eat them? Never mind, I don’t want to know,” said Paul, whispering as though they were in a library. “I’ve seen enough. When did people stop having good old-fashioned, regular sex?”
Despite the fact that Jane Doucet was hesitant to write a second novel–“Shortly before launching The Pregnant Pause, an idea for another novel popped into Jane’s head. “Nope,” she told herself sternly. “Writing a book is hard and takes too long.” But it was an itch she couldn’t stop scratching“–she is now working on her third which will combine characters from her first two. I can’t wait to read it!
Check out this interview with Jane Doucet at The Miramichi Reader in which she talks about how her writing career came to be, more details about her third novel, and her wedding at the Halifax Library!