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Patty Jane's House of Curl : a novel
Lorna Landvik
Adult Fiction LANDVIK

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From Publishers' Weekly:

This debut novel's campy title promises good-natured gossip, women baring their souls and their gray roots to understanding hairdressers. Yet although Landvik builds her plot around two close-knit Minnesota sisters, Patty Jane and Harriet, she doesn't so much conjure a beauty shop as explain, in sentimental terms, how her kindhearted principals survive hardship. The story, which oscillates between optimism and tragedy, begins in 1953, at Patty Jane's wedding to handsome Norwegian Thor; that evening, the bride becomes pregnant, frightening her husband and eventually prompting his mysterious disappearance only days before their daughter is born. Meanwhile, Harriet falls in love with Avel, a doting millionaire. They're blissfully happy together, so when Avel goes on a business trip just before their scheduled nuptials, it's a sure bet his plane will crash. The ensuing years pass quickly as the sisters adjust to single life. Patty Jane opens the eponymous salon and raises her daughter, while Harriet, who never quite gets over Avel, develops a drinking problem. Both women will love again, but new troubles are in store. Landvik uses the latter half of the book to grandstand against alcohol and cigarettes; the characters praise AA, and one key player succumbs to lung cancer. Everyone finds consolation in the homespun wisdom that peppers every page (``grief is a lot like sobriety; you get through it one day at a time''). Family bonds‘if not beauty-salon solidarity‘triumph in this unpretentious tale. British rights to Little, Brown UK. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

In this upbeat novel about two sisters living in Minnesota between the 1950s and the 1980s, Patty Jane marries young, is abandoned by her husband, and lives with baby daughter Nora and mother-in-law Ione. Patty Jane's sister, Harriet, is engaged to a millionaire, who is killed in an airplane crash just before the wedding. When Patty Jane opens a beauty parlor called "The House of Curl," it quickly becomes the locale of a women's support group. The women gossip, take a variety of classes at the beauty parlor, and console one another when needed. Harriet becomes an alcoholic and lives in the streets until she is saved by a policeman and falls in love again. Patty Jane falls in love with her male manicurist and is jolted when her missing husband reappears. This first novel by former stand-up comic Landvik portrays the vicissitudes of life, the bonding of women, and the ties of family. While sometimes predictable, it is always amusing and should appeal to a large audience.-Stephanie Furtsch, New Rochelle P.L., N.Y. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Patty Jane Dobbin Rolvaag
Female
Single mother
Her husband left her when pregnant.
Beautician

Harriet
Female
Widow
Beautician



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