Sean Thibodeau, coordinator of community planning at the Pollard Memorial Library in Lowell, has agreed to review books for The Weekender beginning this week with his take on "Good Riddance" by Lowell native Elinor Lipman. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, the 304-page book is out for $25.

The chatty narrator of Elinor Lipman's new novel, "Good Riddance," explains how she got duped into marriage by her fiendishly self-seeking ex-husband by noting his ability to surprise her -- saying "occurrences outside the everyday can take on the aura of romance."

This is a fair credo for the trajectory of Lipman's novels, especially this latest offering.

"Good Riddance" is true to Lipman's form of chic romantic romp of unexpected coincidences that build on one another with a brisk ironic momentum into a fated crescendo of the unexpected.

The simple act of throwing away a yearbook given to her by her mother sets in motion a chain of events in the protagonist's life that upend nearly every thing she thought she knew about herself and her family. In Lipman's assured hands, unexpected coincidences turn into fated consequences -- and it all happens fast. Meaning in order to not reveal any spoilers, this reviewer can't stray too far into the plotting.

Just know this book proves Lipman is still a master chef of haute romantic cuisine.


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This story might be a little wild at times, but the journey is nothing if not entertaining.

Lipman is scheduled to return home on her national book tour for this novel. You can catch her talk at Pollard Memorial Library, Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m. Copies of the novel will be available for purchase with a book-signing to follow the reading. This event is free and open to the public.