Item description for The Marriage of True Minds by Stephen Evans...
The story of a crossed love that is star to every wandering bark. Together as husband and wife, Nick Ward and Lena Grant ran a successful boutique law firm in Minneapolis, vanquishing all their legal foes side by side. When Nick's charming erratic behavior finally became too much for Lena, the marriage and the partnership ended. But-like C.K. Dexter Haven and Tracy Lord-Lena and Nick just can't quite separate. Lena works out fiercely, keeps her dates with the boring and conventional Preston Winter, and daily battles on against corporate greed. But Nick's not doing so well. Still brilliant and devilishly clever, he is now also almost crazy. He is prone to fantasy and the big gesture, and he engages frantically in guerrilla activism for the sake of animals wild and domestic. Nick doesn't make plans; he has visions. And eventually his antics put him back into Lena's hands. While she tries to navigate the legal waters into which he's thrown them, Nick veers out of her wake and into the midst of a strange set of companions, including Oscar, his psychiatric attendant and Action Comics collector; Ralph and Alice Wilson, the rebellious managers of the city animal shelter; and an aging Russian hound named Wolfram. Often laugh-out-loud funny, with bright wit and brilliant machine-gun dialogue, The Marriage of True Minds sweetly explores modern love, undying idealism, and one cracked partnership that can't be sundered-from without or from within.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 5.5" Height: 8" Weight: 0.55 lbs.
Release Date May 27, 2008
Publisher Unbridled Books
ISBN 1932961461 ISBN13 9781932961461
Reviews - What do customers think about The Marriage of True Minds?
Highly entertaining read Sep 5, 2008
Steve Evans' first novel is pure fun. It may have more literary, theatrical, and musical references than I have encountered in a novel - more probably than many readers will catch - but they help make it a blast from start to finish. His characters are well drawn and so convincing that part of me hopes his next offering will continue to develop them now that he has made such a delightful introduction. Whatever he chooses to tackle next, I can't wait!
The Marriage of True Minds by Stephen Evans Jul 26, 2008
Quirky and fun, The Marriage of True Minds follows Lena Grant and Nick Ward, two brilliant lawyers who were partners both in and out of court. Unfortunately, Nick may or may not be completely nuts and Lena's divorced him. She's trying to move on with her life, taking on new clients and dating Preston Winter, a state attorney, but she's torn between her lingering affection for her ex and a desire for a "normal" life. Nick, as sharp and intelligent as ever, is constantly causing her grief with his wild stunts - like putting 100+ lobsters in the mayor's swimming pool. Constantly, Lena wonders why Nick can't just act normal.
The strength of the novel (perhaps novella? It's quite short) comes from its quirky cast of characters. Nick is spontaneous and full of love - for the Earth, his e-wife, animals, his puppet Sancho, his fellow men - but he creates the world to suit his tastes and needs, whether by dressing Lena in couture that perfectly complements his own signature pinstripe suits (custom-fitted in Italy) or reshaping past events to make a better story. It's difficult to be sure of his sanity but Nick's choices are intended for the good of all (in his own mind). His doctor, Oscar, loves comic books (but only well-used, beat-up and severely deteriorated copies will do) and believes that all knowledge can be gleaned from the pages of DC and Marvel. With his own sense of playfulness running strong, Oscar makes the perfect watchdog-playmate for Nick. Toss in a judge straight off of daytime TV and Lena's mouthy assistant Sharon and situations explode. The more ludicrous the scene, the funnier the book becomes.
While The Marriage of True Minds is certainly a love story, it is also a condemnation of humanity's habit of getting rid of anything inconvenient. Whether it's pets or animals - Nick briefly works at the city animal shelter and learns about the shelter's "30-day-limit" - or half-mad people, author Stephen Evans seeks to remind us of the pain caused by giving up on the ones we love.
"True Minds" Shows True Heart Jun 24, 2008
In his debut novel, Stephen Evans presents an engaging, touching, and very funny look at relationships (marriage in particular), and also makes a strong, though not heavy-handed, case for animal rights. With a playwright's keen ear for dialogue - sort of a cross between Neil Simon and Tom Stoppard - and an artist's sense of time and place, Mr. Evans shows great skill as he lets the story of Nick, Lena, and Sancho unfold in its Minneapolis setting. But ultimately, it is Mr. Evans's skill as a novelist that will captivate you as he effortlessly takes us from present to past and back again in Nick and Lena's relationship, and also provides depth to the supporting characters - Preston, Sharon, Ralph, Alice, and Wolfram.
I won't go into plot detail, as others on this site have already done an excellent job of that. And nothing reveals the plot better than Mr. Evans's own nimble writing. Someone in Hollywood should be taking notice, as this novel seems readily adaptable to the screen.
It has been noted by others that this is a great summer read, one for the beach. If you're reading at the beach, be prepared to touch up the sun screen under your eyes in a couple of instances, and to have others ask you, "What's so funny?"
Read this book! You will enjoy the characters for their quirkiness, humor, and humanity (including the dog puppet). And you will be contributing to a good cause - Best Friends Animal Society.
A Lobster Full of Laughs Jun 19, 2008
Nick Ward and Lena Grant met when he was her law professor. After a whirlwind courtship, they married and established a comfortable life together. They had a successful law firm in Minneapolis, took trips to Florence, and had a brand new house Lena had designed. Then, one day, Nick brought home a puppet named Sancho and things begin to unravel.
After Lena discovered Nick spending money erratically and Sancho becoming Nick's best friend, she knew she needed to end her marriage to maintain her own sanity. Lena moved on and began dating the district attorney, worked on remodeling her condo, and took over the law firm. But Nick drew her back into his drama when he was arrested for dumping thousands of lobsters into the Mayor's pool. Knowing Nick could face jail time, Lena agreed to take Nick back, not realizing she might still love him.
The Marriage of the True Minds has a couple of wonderful messages. One is about how we care for the animals in our society and the other is how we care for our marriages. The book is wonderfully funny and I found myself chuckling many times. There are also lovely quirky characters with Nick being the most appealing. I found myself caring for Sancho the puppet as though he were a human. The book delves into the effects mental illness can have on a marriage. I love books that are rich with humor while also pursuing a deeper message, and The Marriage of True Minds does just that. For more book ideas visit www.bookroomreviews.com!
Save the Lobsters, Save the World Jun 3, 2008
In his debut novel, Stephen Evans has created a quirky - yet touching - story about love, loss and our moral responsibility to our fellow earthlings, human and non.
Lawyers Nick and Lena are the titular couple in THE MARRIAGE OF TRUE MINDS. On a whim, law school student Lena enrolled in Nick's environmental law course, and by term's end, the two had fallen head-over-heels in love. After they married, Lena joined Nick's law firm, and the two became crusaders for human and environmental rights. In time, Nick's seemingly tenuous grasp on reality unraveled, as did his marriage to Lena. When Nick's increasingly erratic behavior became too much for Lena to bear, the two divorced; she bought out his half of the house and firm, and set up a bank account for his living expenses...which he promptly squandered on a "guerilla activist" prank involving 144 lobsters, the mayor's swimming pool and the Minnesota Zoo.
In addition to costing him upwards of $250,000, Nick's latest eco-prank is also threatening his very freedom. Enter Lena, who agrees to defend him in court - against her new beau, one Preston Winter. (Awkward!) Without revealing too much of the plot, suffice to say that the brilliant Lena succeeds in saving Nick from both jail and psychiatric commitment - that is, if he can manage to complete his court-ordered community service and mandatory counseling without incident. Given that the volunteer work is to take place at the local animal shelter, Nick's chances don't look good.
Throughout it all, the long-suffering Lena is appointed Nick's supervisor/guardian by the court, further complicating their already complicated relationship. Since theirs is a marriage of true minds (and Preston is kind of a tool), you'll be rooting for Nick all the way.
Rounding out the cast of characters are Ralph and Alice, the grim-but-dedicated husband-and-wife team in charge of the animal shelter; Oscar, Nick's psychiatric attendant and sidekick; Sharon, Lena's personal assistant and sidekick; Wolfrum, a geriatric Irish Wolfhound slated for euthanasia at the shelter; and Sancho, Nick's sassy and anthropomorphized canine hand puppet.
In his press materials, Stephen Evans describes the inspiration behind THE MARRIAGE OF TRUE MINDS. When asked "How did this story start for you?", Evans replies:
"When I learned about the issue of euthanasia in animal shelters. There are millions of dogs and cats every year who are perfectly healthy and don't have homes, and they are euthanized after just a few days of being there. I had no known about that problem, and I wanted to write something about it. I knew that if I wrote a non-fiction book about it, it would be a very difficult thing to read and wouldn't have the reach that it would have if I wrote it a different way, so that was the genesis of trying to imbed the issue within a different kind of story that would be a little more uplifting."
Evans has succeeded in presenting the problem of companion animal overpopulation as part of a lighter, more uplifting story. THE MARRIAGE OF TRUE MINDS never comes across as heavy-handed. (Though one animal shelter scene did bring tears to my eyes; rather than continue reading, I retired to bed early so that I could cuddle with my own five rescued dogs.) Overall, it's a nice summer read - the kind of book you breeze through during a weekend on the beach. The "meaning of life" ponderings are an added bonus, as is the portion of sales that Evans has pledged to donate to Best Friends Animal Society.
While much of the book hinges on Nick's mental health - or lack thereof - this is the only point in which I felt Evans faltered. Nick receives a diagnosis of delusional disorder from his psychiatrist, yet we don't really get a glimpse of any actual delusions. Nick acts erratically at times, wasting his money and committing property crimes such as the theft of the lobsters, but aside from conversations with Sancho the hand puppet (which he may or may not actually believe are "real"), his beliefs aren't crazy, just unpopular. Then again, perhaps that's the point: a respect for the welfare of fellow sentient beings isn't crazy at all, but perfectly rational, moral and sane. Maybe I didn't see the supposed "disorder" in Nick's behavior because I'm crazy, too.
Finally, I just wanted to make a note. Nick isn't what I'd call an "animal rights activist". Rather, he starts out as an environmental advocate (of the legal subset), and later on he also shows a concern for animal welfare issues. He never explicitly advocates for animal rights, in fact, he only goes veg (vegetarian) near the end of the book. (During dinner at Ralph and Alice's place, he refuses a serving of meat. When asked how long he's been a vegetarian, Nick replies "Five hours.") The publisher, who found me through Library Thing, asked me to review the book, in part because I write about environmental and animal rights issues on my blog. While it is a very animal-friendly book - one I highly recommend, since animal-friendly fiction is hard to come by - it's not an animal rights book per se. Even so, I think it's a great pick for animal advocates. It's also a novel that meat-eaters can enjoy, since the "preaching" is both lighthearted and focused on the plight of homeless dogs and cats (and who doesn't like dogs and cats?).