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Book review: Shannon Guymon's 'Do Over' weaves hope and new start after tragedy

"DO OVER," by Shannon Guyman, Bonneville Books, $13.99, 182 pages (f)

Iris Levine is a new bride who discovers, on her wedding night, that her husband has been less-than-faithful. After she tells the guests at her reception that the party is over (and to take their gifts home), she bolts Seattle and her top design job for a small town and a fresh start.

She ends up living next to her cousin in Alpine, Utah, where four local ladies are taking it upon themselves to "rescue" one of the local good guys, Trey Kellen, a man with a string of bad luck on the dating scene. Iris unknowingly becomes part of a little wager between the ladies.

Iris' fresh start is more of an outside overhaul, going from business professional to leather-laden biker chick. Her anti-male leanings end up enmeshed with Trey's anti-female attitude. Trey pitches an offer to Iris that, if he can say that she's his girlfriend — to get his friends and family off his back — he'll let her ride his Ducati motorcycle. What follows is an interesting stream of appearances by meddling parents, judgmental town folks and the slimy ex-husband.

This book is definitely geared towards a female demographic. However, there are plenty of exchanges between the two main characters that will have guys chuckling and saying, "Man, that's what I would have done, too."

While the characters in the book are presumeably members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, there is only one section that really solidifies this (they talk about temple marriages and their dating rules are pretty common in Mormon culture). It might have been better to either "set the table" off the top, even if just briefly, or leave religion out of it altogether. The theme the author weaves here is certainly non-denominational. Readers along the Wasatch Front will recognize a few of the landmarks and references scattered throughout the pages.

Local author Shannon Guymon weaves a good story involving solid characters without getting preachy or graphic. It's a fun, quick read that will have you smiling in the end.

Tim Johnson is the art director at KSL-TV in Salt Lake City. He and his wife, Alicia, are the proud parents of five daughters who, thankfully, look like their mom.