Jenny's Reviews > Returning to Denver

Returning to Denver by R.D. McHattie
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's review
Mar 19, 2010

really liked it

Returning to Denver by RD McHattie is a smart and eclectic novel that incorporates elements of a good mystery with that of the coming of age genre. Diane Quinnell, a recent graduate of the prestigious Smith College, is optimistic about her future as a designer; however, she experiences a number of unpleasant encounters that opens her eyes to the underside of the art world and design business. Intuition, reflection, wit, and support from friends and her peppy artist mom keep Diane sane as she weaves her way through the maze of corridors at the Denver Art Museum. Diane’s conscientious nature and commitment to personal integrity serve her well as she rises above the chaos of her time spent with a trio of art world tricksters.

McHattie fills her text with lyrical descriptions of art and keen observations of human nature. Character development is strong and rich with telling details that provoke several laugh-out-loud moments, or should I say, laugh-at-Doris moments? Doris Glampers, Diane’s mother-in-law, is unforgettable-- a quirky, frumpy, wig-wearing,coupon-clipping, obsessive collector who is utterly paranoid about burglars. Doris’s best friend Cherise Vander-Lyden, also her rival, is the grand dame of Denver designers; she’s suave, powerful, and manipulative. And the vibrant, young heroine Diane must navigate the murky waters these older ladies stir up for her. I have not read such intriguing characterizations since Thomas Pynchon’s V. Those who like mysteries, art history, and ethical explorations will enjoy Returning to Denver. Highly recommended.

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