"A great story"
Therapist Casey Ellis is attending the funeral of renowned
psychologist Cornelius Unger, a respected person in his
field. Casey feels melancholy because Cornelius is the
father who never acknowledged her and never made any effort
to talk to her even when she enrolled in one of his
classes. At the end of the funeral, his lawyer tells Casey
that her father left her his Beacon Hill townhouse with the
request that she keep on the maid and the gardener.
At first Casey doesn't want anything to do with the home
out of loyalty to her mother who has been in a coma for the
last three years and is not expected to wake up. When one
of her partners in her group practice absconds with the
rent money, Casey decides to open a solo practice at her
father's townhouse. There she meets the handsome gardener
Jordan; they start a relationship. She also becomes
involved with a manuscript her father left for her about a
woman who he treated as an outcast by the town she lives in
and is afraid of the father who is coming home from prison
after six years for killing her mother.
Barbara Delinsky has written a moving tale of two women
having to cope with severe traumas, one fighting her demons
alone and the therapist having a support system that
carries her through each crisis. One of this author's
greatest talents is to write about people who immediately
establish rapport with the audience so that readers care
what happens to them. FLIRTING WITH PETE is a memorable
work of women's fiction.
Reviewed by PNR Group Member
Posted May 15, 2003
In Flirting with Pete, bestselling author Barbara Delinsky
weaves together two fascinating narratives that merge in a
dramatic, highly emotional, and totally unexpected
conclusion, as a daughter's struggle to win the approval of
the father she never knew becomes a journey of self-
Casey Ellis has arrived at a lonely place in her life. Her
mother remains in a comatose state several years after a
terrible accident -- and now her father has died.
Although Casey didn't really know him -- never met him, in
fact -- she had held out an oblique hope that someday this
man, Dr. Cornelius Unger, a celebrated psychologist, might
acknowledge her. In an attempt to please him, she even went
into his field and became a counselor, to no avail.
It comes as a shock, therefore, when she learns that he has
left her his beautiful townhouse in Boston's exclusive
Beacon Hill section. She is of half a mind to sell it and
use the money to care for her mother, but then she visits
the townhouse and finds it enchanting. In fact, any chance
she might have had of resisting the house is lost when she
falls in love with the hidden garden out back. Sweetening
the deal is the maid, a woman close to her age, who cooks
and cleans and wants only to please her; and the gardener,
a man who is as enigmatic as he is handsome.
Yet always in Casey's mind is the question of why Cornelius
Unger chose to acknowledge her in this way. Sensing that he
had an ulterior motive, she searches the house and finds
the first part of a manuscript that could be a novel, a
journal, or a case study of one of her father's clients.
The manuscript tells the harrowing story of a young woman
named Jenny who was sexually abused by her father and
emotionally abused by her mother. When her mother was
murdered, her father was sent to prison. Now, after only
six years in jail, he is about to be released, and Jenny
knows she has to escape. Her way out appears in the form of
a mysterious stranger, a dream of a man named Pete, who
shows up on his motorcycle and offers to whisk her away.
Convinced the story is true -- even more, that her father
has left this manuscript as a message for her -- Casey sets
out to find the rest of the pages. With the discovery of
each additional segment, she learns more about Jenny, about
herself, and about Cornelius Unger, who she realizes has
planned this journey for her, actually begun the first day
she set foot in his house. The manuscript proves to be the
key to understanding not only her father's past but also
that of the man she has come to love.
Flirting with Pete reaches its climax with a startling
twist, one that explores the role of imagination in our
everyday lives. Through Jenny's story, Casey gains insight
into her own life as she vacillates between what she wants
to be true and what actually is. With unflinching grace,
Barbara Delinsky delves into the human psyche as it colors
contemporary family life. Flirting with Pete is sure to
touch a personal chord with readers and win her even more