Temping Fate (2007) by Esther Friesner is, conventionally, what a chick lit novel usually looks like. The story has a misfit female protagonist, cute guys, and relationship-related mayhem. Happily, the story also fits into my more encompassing, feminist-informed, definition of chick lit in that the heroine of the novel is funny, smart and independent.
Ilana Newhouse is desperate for a summer job. Any summer job. So, she doesn’t worry too much when the temp agency that hires her proves to be a little . . . strange. It turns out that Ilana is temping for The Fates of ancient Greek fame.
Chaos ensues as Ilana tries to navigate the complexities of her new job with the Fates while helping prepare for her Bridezilla-sister’s upcoming wedding. Add in some fun co-workers, spastic gods and goddesses and this book has all the makings for an entertaining read. Happily, at the same time, the story does have some twists and turns to keep things interesting.
This book gets major points for putting ancient Greek gods (and some other myths from other countries) into a modern setting and preserving their integrity. The gods that we meet in the story are convincing characters and they work perfectly in the modern environment. It’s the first book I have read in a while that can claim as much.
Furthermore, the story is hysterical. Ilana is a true oddball and following the plot through her point of view is a lot of fun. Friesner had me laughing out loud several times during the reading of this story. Some of the characters come off more like cartoons than “real” people, but that’s probably to be expected of a story like this. Friesner introduces some great characters in a fun, upbeat story that readers will definitely want to see again.
Possible Pairings: Antigoddess by Kendare Blake, Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough, Gods Behaving Badly by Marie Phillips, Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney