★★★★ Oftentimes, books can make you realize how simple your own life really is, and the hilarious novel Too Hot to Hold by Linda Cousine is no exception. Her middle-aged heroine, Lexi, is a bit of a mess, but that doesn’t stop her from moving forward in life, dealing with the countless dilemmas that appear in extremely unusual ways. After recovering from a post-menopausal meltdown, Lexi returns home to focus on herself and her family. This just so happens to include her ex-husband, Richard, who moves back in and brings his friends from his professional wrestling heyday along with him. As time goes on the heat Lexi used to have with Richard returns, and the chemistry between them starts to sizzle once more. And if that alone wasn’t enough, Lexi finds herself wrapped up in other titillating adventures, which include a visit to a nudist colony, a modeling gig for adult diapers and the surfacing of an old sex tape. In the end, Lexi has to put all of that craziness behind her, as she struggles to keep her family together, facing the ultimate question of whether or not she should move on, or cling to what she knows.
The reason this novel is such a pleasant read is because it is funny, outrageous and charming all at the same time. Cousine creates characters that the reader cares about, putting them through strange situations, while never losing sight of their humanity and what motivations push them forward through the unusual struggles they face. Lexi, her ex-husband Richard, and her daughter Summer are still a family at the end of the day, even though they are not the typical kind of family that is often presented as being a normal functioning unit. Cousine’s writing is witty and humorous, and the story she tells will keep the pages turning, as the reader can’t help but wonder what crazy situation is going to come up next.