Fifteen Minutes of Shame by Lisa Daily

(No Series)

What happens when America’s favorite dating expert finds out on national television that her husband is cheating on her? Darby Vaughn’s fifteen minutes of fame quickly becomes fifteen minutes of shame when the story of her divorce is splashed across supermarket tabloids. If Darby takes her philandering husband back, her career will be over. If she doesn’t, she’ll lose the only man she’s ever loved. As she rebuilds her life with help from her girlfriends, Darby has to make some tough choices, but she stays true to her heart every step of the way.

Award-winning relationship expert Darby Vauhn has her life turned upside down when she finds out not only that her husband has been cheating on her with his ex-wife, but that he’s divorcing her. What’s worse is she finds out on national television while promoting her new book. Torn apart internally, hounded by reporters and gossip columnists, and desperate to get her step-children back, Darby quickly retreats toward the warmth of a close-knit circle of friends and hires the best divorce attorney she can find in response to her husband’s demands. Fifteen Minutes of Shame focuses on the harried woman trying to get custody of the children, trying to save her career, and falling in love all at the same time.

I’ve always felt bad for celebrities. Sure, they now know what to expect from the limelight before going in, but this is no excuse for the media and paparazzi to turn into rabid sharks smelling blood when tragedy strikes. Darby’s encounters with this were horrifying to me as a person, while also amusing in a bizarre way as she unerringly stumbles into one bad situation from another. Leaning on the advice of her friends, she further proves that to make it through the tough times, having that all-important support group is crucial. The budding romance between her and a certain someone took me by surprise as it’s not the generally grinned-upon approach, but I was rooting for the handsome couple by the end of the story with both hands raised.

I was wondering how the author would handle the taboo situation with the children. I can see both the legal – and the main characters’ – perspective. In the end, it is handled well with the right sort of closure, the only sort that makes sense. As a character, Darby is a fun one. She has a sense of humor that helps her stay alive yet is serious where she’s supposed to be. Her sense of self is strong, but of course she’s human and falls prey to the typical self-doubts and self-recriminations all too common for us all.

In the beginning, the pace holds strong as disaster continuously strikes from all directions - reminds me of a hurricane attacking a house built with dominoes. The middle section is more about picking up the pieces, trying various antics advised to her through her publicist and friends (some work well, leaving me cheering – others fail, leaving me laughing). While it’s not clear to what end it’s leading, it ultimately finds a good, comfortable place.

As a chick-lit story, this one should please readers of the genre. Fun, witty, serious, it deals with issues that confront most of us, and the resolution is found not by Darby looking to lean on others or a man but by searching deeper inside herself. Highly recommended for a fun, but also slightly thought-provoking, time.