Friday, May 17, 2013

Review: The Love Wars by L. Alison Heller

In The Love Wars by L. Alison Heller, Molly Grant is an associate at a premier Manhattan law firm and has recently moved into the matrimonial division where she is dealing with the demise of the marriages of the rich and powerful. In addition to their demanding clients, Molly and her colleagues are managing the demands of their high maintenance boss and partner in the firm, Lillian. As her clients argue over custody and who is going to pay the other's legal fees and Lillian's demands become ever more insistent, Molly questions why she has sold her soul to this profession and the firm, Bacon Payne.

 Molly comes from a humble background with parents that own a small store and they are immensely proud of their daughter, the attorney. It is partially a sense of obligation to her parents for all they sacrificed that keeps her working at the firm even though the hours are grueling and she doesn't always like her clients or some of her colleagues. She is due is large bonus at the five year mark and she hopes to pay off her parent's mortgage with the bonus which keeps her motivated despite the demands and her occasional struggles with insecurities about her ability to perform. She has difficulty relating to her clients and their "problems" like the successful banker who is bringing her soon to be ex-husband to court over custody of their cats. But Molly is touched by one client, Fern, who seeks the firm's help with the custody agreement between she and her ex-husband. Robert Walker is a powerful media mogul and since the couple's divorce, he has been alienating the children from Fern and denying her visitation. The firm is courting Mr. Walker as a corporate client and they don't want to touch this matrimonial case so Lillian instructs Molly to move Fern along and make recommendations to other firms. When none of those firms help Fern, Molly "goes rogue" and begins helping Fern independently.

While Molly deals with the dissolution of other's relationships, her own love life has suffered.  Relationships have definitely taken a back seat to her career. An old college boyfriend is back in the picture and there seems to be a spark with Henry at work but it is hard to differentiate between a spark and someone with whom you spend 60+ hours per week! Is Molly too busy to get involved or has bearing witness to and trying to help her clients navigate the messy space when a relationship sours made her wary of getting involved?

 My Thoughts
Molly is an immensely likable character  - she has faults but she also has values and is often motivated by the right things.  Her ability to see through the antics of her clients and colleagues resonates and serves to make her an interesting observer of the crazy world of divorce proceedings and custody agreements.  As Molly goes to great lengths and personal risk in helping Fern, the reader sees a character who understands right  from wrong and looks to even the score between the powerful and those without tremendous resources.

I have a lot of friends who have worked in large NYC law firms and many feel the same way as Molly - overworked and constantly questioning why they are doing what they do.  Like Molly, the author is also a divorce attorney which I am sure helped her get this struggle just right - the story did not feel cliched. This is definitely a great read and, like The Devil Wears Prada, will make you appreciate your own job no matter how tough it might be!

Thank you to Books Sparks PR for providing a copy of this book for review.


  1. I enjoy reading novels giving us an insider's view of an industry, like Bond Girl. This sounds like a winner too.

    1. This one reminded me quite a bit of Bond Girl.

  2. I didn't work in a large law firm but I know how work can take your time and energy away from other important things.

  3. It always helps to enjoy a book when you have knowledge that the details of the book are real. Sounds like a fun read!