Can sex and love co-exist peacefully? Are widows the new virgins? Are men biologically hardwired to spread their seed? The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating is a novel about death, sex and love, in that order.
While Claire Byrne is on a writing assignment in Texas, her philandering husband Charlie is struck dead in an absurd collision with a rare bronze sculpture. In the odd weeks that follow – funeral, Xanax, a swarthy undertaker, and mounting bills — Claire braces for her new life. She surrounds herself with an eccentric chorus of friends, psychics, storytellers and Jungian shrinks to guide her way.
Charlie was a famous sexologist, like Alfred Kinsey (but cuter), and his theories about men and women haunt his young widow. Specifically his lifelong insistence that love and sex can’t co-exist. Claire is determined to prove him wrong. After a reasonable amount of time and a string of unfortunate dates, Claire is unexpectedly thrust into the lap of Jack Huxley, the movie star. According to Charlie’s will, Claire is to finish his incomplete work and it turns out to be a biography of Huxley – a younger, more famous version of Charlie. Groan. But Huxley’s not what she expected. He’s curious. He’s attentive and sweet. He’s intellectual and self-deprecating. (Oh, and also gorgeous!) They have a whirlwind relationship. They read poetry in the bathtub, watch Billy Wilder movies all night. They order pizza and sing old show tunes. It’s love and sex co-existing! Or is it?
Either way, Claire learns some things on the ride. And when she looks up after the smoke clears, there’s an unlikely suitor in the wings. He’s maybe the one, or maybe he’s not, but either way is fine. Claire falls in love with the journey.
The Widow’s Guide to Sex & Dating is a cunning and sophisticated send-up of sex and love from a girl who’s been out there long enough to know.