Superior Book Productions

November 8, 2013

The Life and Times of Lorna Rae
L. Faxon
Aviva Publishing (2013)
ISBN: 9781938686801

New Novel Offers a Handbag’s Point of View

The Life and Times of Lorna Rae by L. FaxonL. Faxon’s debut novel The Life and Times of Lorna Rae is an unexpected pleasure to read. As a man, I was hesitant to read a book about a woman and her handbag. I’ve gotten silently irritated plenty of times over women fussing about their purses, and I never understood why a wallet and a pants pocket won’t do for a woman like they do for a man. But L. Faxon has won me over. Now I understand why women carry handbags—heck, I even understand what it must be like to be a handbag.

Faxon writes this novel in the third person point of view, with alternating chapters. Half of the chapters focus on a young career woman who serves as a type of everywoman with her name simply being She. The other half of the chapters are predominantly focused on Lorna Rae, She’s favorite designer handbag, although a few of the sections are told by other handbags or represent scenes in She’s closet, where all the handbags live and converse.

Let me make it clear here that this is not the kind of a book I would have expected to like, and at first, I groaned over the main character being named She, but I was won over quickly because She is a very realistic character. The book begins when She has just been betrayed at work and left her job, making me instantly feel sympathy for her and wonder where her journey will take her. Also, like She, I long for a simpler time and prefer the films and music of the 1940s and 1950s when people had better manners and there was great music. While She enjoys some of the good things in life, including designer handbags and a trip to Paris, she is never shallow. She has not had an easy life; in fact, she has battled breast cancer and experienced little in the way of real romance, so her handbags have helped to fill some of the voids in her life. She, like most of us, deserves better, so if her handbags help to make her happy, she deserves all the handbags she can get.

As for the handbags themselves, they are great fun to read about. Faxon inserts short histories of the various handbags in the book, but most of the time, she tells us how they feel when they go flying off a car seat, when they are dropped, when they meet other handbags and have interesting conversations, and when they find that another handbag is chosen for a night out on the town over them. The handbags bicker, but they are also very proud of being handbags and having a wonderful owner like She who appreciates them.

To get a taste for Faxon’s style and how she presents the handbags, here is a short passage that takes place after the handbags learn that She has left her job:

Once the coast was clear, it was the Prada Limited Edition Paisley Pattern tote style bag that spoke first.

“What happened?”

“She quit her job today,” said Lorna Rae.

They all gasped and started to talk at once. “What will we do? You know what could happen?” They were not strangers to being transferred to another owner via the consignment shop. She had acquired most of the designer bags there. YSL Easy was not aware of this procedure since she was purchased at Neiman Marcus and was frightened by the possibility of leaving the comfort of the closet and the owner she adored.

Who would be the first to go? Would it be those She tended to take out the least? Would it be those who held the most resale value? Would it be the beautiful beaded Fendi Baguette, the Prada LE Paisley, the YSL Metallic Easy Bag, the Lanvin Pop Leather Clutch, the Balenciaga City bag, the Louis Vuitton Cherry Pochette, the Green Longchamp Roseau Croco, the Chanel Paris Biarritz handbag tote, the Dolce & Gabbana “Miss Lexington” black lambskin bag, or finally, the beaded evening bag that once belonged to movie star, Natalie Wood?

Lorna Rae encouraged the handbags to calm down and not to panic, but the handbags were quick to point out that Lorna Rae, being the favorite and coveted bag, would be the last to go.

Trust me, the handbag humor and drama just continue from there. I think any woman who loves her handbag will absolutely love The Life and Times of Lorna Rae. Even men will be surprised by how much fun this book is, and maybe by reading it, they will learn a little about women, which can never hurt. This is the perfect book to cheer you up when you are down, to read for fun on vacation, and even to read for a little confirmation that the world ultimately is a good place.

From the way the book ends, I suspect Faxon will be writing a sequel, and I say, “Bring it on!” It’s about time handbags had their say.

For more information about The Life and Times of Lorna Rae and L. Faxon, visit www.LornaRae.com.

— Tyler R. Tichelaar, Ph.D. and award-winning author of Spirit of the North: a paranormal romance

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