The other day, I sat down to refresh my memory of the plot line to Six Words, a novel by one of my favorite indie authors, Becky Wolsk. Several hours later, I had read the entire book. Again. This testifies to the level of Wolsk’s skill in drawing readers into her world; a world full of multi-faceted characters and clever plotting set in contemporary Washington D.C.
There’s much to love here, from intense and endearing protagonist Sophia, to the intriguing men in her life, to her complicated relationship with her secret godmother “Countess Connie” who is secret only because Sophia is mortified by her connection to the glib best-selling new age author.
That Sophia prefers more cerebral self-help, like the writings of Buddhist monks and cutting edge neuroscientists, is only one of the points of friction between Sophia and Connie. Connie often uses her supposed wisdom as an author and status as godmother to reprimand Sophia about everything from her eating habits to her dating situation. Connie tends to end conversations with sharp stings of criticism, and Sophia is determined to find a way to re-define their relationship.
As a middle school curriculum director, Sophia plans meticulously thought-out scavenger hunts: education disguised as fun. The job she loves is compromised when one unruly student gets mild food poisoning under her supervision and the parents sue the school. Further complicating her once serene work environment, Sophia tries to resist her attraction to the school’s pro bono lawyer.
“Six words” refers to a line Sophia casually drops after one too many martinis: she can seduce any man with six words. The problem is, she has no idea what those six words might be, and the guy who could be the man of her dreams really wants to know. The word-play is only one of the many pleasures of this smart and quirky novel that endures read after read after read.
And there’s more. See my review of Becky’s equally amazing novel Food & Worry here.