From renowned producer and writer Linda Bloodworth Thomason, creator of the beloved hit television series Designing Women, comes Liberating Paris, an audacious, poignant, and endearing debut novel about love, memories that won't fade, and holding on to your dreams. Set in small-town Paris, Arkansas, it is the story of six best friends who have just passed their fortieth birthdays and now must come to terms with the past in order to move forward with their lives.
Woodrow McIlmore, the town's golden boy and local gynecologist, is married to his beautiful high school sweetheart, Milan, and seems by all appearances to be leading the perfect life with his two children and extended family and friends. But when Wood's daughter announces that she is smitten with a college classmate and intends to marry him, her parents are stunned. Their daughter's beloved is none other than the son of Wood's lost love, Duff -- romantic chemistry has repeated itself in the next generation!
The impending wedding will lead the free-spirited Duff, now an IHOP waitress, to return to the town and the man she left behind, for the first time in twenty years. As Wood's and Duff's reckless behavior progresses, they are forced to question whether their rediscovered passion is worth shattering their children's future and Milan's faith in her husband, and abandoning the friendships and values that they have clung to since childhood. As one of the group says to Wood, "See, it's not just you having an affair. Now we're all having an affair."
During this one tumultuous year, there is a revelation of sexual identity, an unexpected death, a birth, and a wedding, bringing about as many changes as the national discount superstore that is destroying the very heart of the town. The six friends will be forced to decide what in their lives is worth keeping and what needs to be thrown away, and how they can save for their children not only Main Street, but the things that were learned there.
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Linda Bloodworth Thomason, the acclaimed creator of Designing Women and Evening Shade, has written more than two hundred episodes for network television. She has been nominated for numerous Emmys and is the recipient of the Lucille Ball Award from Women in Film and the Eleanor Roosevelt Freedom of Speech Award. She is currently writing and directing her first feature film and lives in Los Angeles with her husband, director Harry Thomason.From Publishers Weekly:
The collapse of a marriage comes as a seismic shock to a group of six high school friends now on the verge of middle age in this splendid, often hilarious first novel by television writer and producer Bloodworth Thomason (Designing Women, etc.). Five of the friends still live in unpretentious Paris, Ark.: Wood MacKelmore, the third-generation local doctor ("Wood was to the group what Frank Sinatra was to the Rat Pack"); Milan, Wood's gorgeous wife of 20 years who grew up dirt poor; Wood's close friend Earl Brundidge Jr., who runs the town liquor store and is a single father of two little girls; Mavis Pinkerton, Milan's best friend, an accomplished cook who owns a bakery; and Carl Jeter, a quadriplegic who was injured in a football game at 17 and is now a poet. The sixth member of the group is flamboyant rebel Duff, Wood's first love and Milan's nemesis. Duff moved away after high school, but when Milan's daughter, Elizabeth, comes home from college announcing plans to marry a classmate, Luke Childs, it isn't long before everyone realizes that Luke is Duff's son. Thrown together by their children's engagement, Wood and Duff rekindle their long-ago affair, jeopardizing not only Wood's marriage but also the relationships among their friends. A thicket of sideplots—including the unwelcome arrival of a chain discount megastore, Mavis's quest to find a sperm donor and Brundidge's long-distance romance with a New Yorker—give the novel a rich, layered feel. Poignant, welcoming and warmly funny, this is an irresistible page-turner.
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