I picked up this short-and-sweet, mid-90s book at the library on a whim, and boy, I didn’t regret it. The story and characters are solid, but the best part was the mid-90s mentality. The main character enters the workforce after years and years of staying at home, lands a job as an assistant at a publishing company and works her way up to an editing job within six months! She has no debt problems; she has health insurance. There are no terrorists or wars. The cast of Friends is seen as enviably young, not as full of potential cougars.

The book follows Nina Askew, who has just left her workaholic husband.  Also in her life is her melancholy dog, Fred and downstairs neighbor, Dr. Alex Moore. Nina and Alex, aided by Fred’s antics, develop a thing for each other, but she thinks she’s too old for him and he thinks he’s too irresponsible for her. Secondary characters, from Nina’s kooky, boutique-owning BFF to Alex’s hard-drinking brother, add to the fun. While the plot is fairly predictable, the book mostly avoids clichés. The characters are all lovable and each scene is charming.

This book offers an escape for an afternoon to a world where the biggest problem is that your downstairs neighbor who is in love with you is just too young and good-looking. I plan to search out more ’90s pick-me-ups soon.

I also found the chocolate Amaretto milkshakes that Nina and her best friend drink to be particularly uplifting, mostly because the word “milkshake”just sounds delicious. But if you’d like to stick with wine, chilled Smoking Loon Chardonnay is crisp and packs a colorful flavor profile, taking me back to a time when fashion hadn’t quite yet come down from the bombastic high of the 80’s.

 

♥ Riesling