Party of One – A Novel

MOTIVATION:  Early on as a widow I often wished I had the nerve to approach a restaurant manager to ask if I could reserve a table on a weekly basis for walk-in singles. Not singles as in dating singles, but singles as in people who dine out alone. Time after time I chickened out and sat as a lonely party of one in those restaurants.  This book is the answer to my question, “What would have happened if I had actually done it?”

PREMISE:  When 52-year-old widow Annie McGee starts a single diners supper club, all she wants is some pleasant company over dinner—nothing more. But is she losing control of her carefully laid out plan?

BRIEF SYNOPSIS:  It’s been 18 months since Annie McGee became a widow after being happily married for 27 years. Determined not to worry her grown children or to impose on her married friends, Annie is handling life and grief as best she can—by keeping her loneliness to herself.

In an uncharacteristic and bold move for this private woman, Annie impulsively founds a supper club for single diners dubbing it the “Party of One.” Her purpose is simple—to share a meal with other lonely diners. Outside of this venue, she has no intention of getting involved in the lives of these people.

Joining Annie on the first night are 83-year-old Will Anderson, a widower and retired business owner; 44-year-old Martina Vargas, a committed Christian and cook at the restaurant; Kate Kerrigan, a beautiful 27-year-old career-minded sales rep; and 50-something quiet, geeky Steven Walsh. Over the weeks, the Party of One grows to include a varied cast of characters– some who stay on, some who don’t.

Annie and the Party of One-ers meet weekly around a table at the Cranberry Tavern in Sandwich on Cape Cod. This English pub-style restaurant serves as a safe haven for this group of vulnerable misfits. The restaurant’s staff plays an important role in their Friday night suppers, too.  Aspiring actress Gracie Camden entertains them by incorporating numerous movie scenes into her hostess duties; “Sarge” Pappas, a veteran waitress adds candor and spice to her service; and Shane McKibben, a young waiter from Ireland, impresses them with his kindness and entrepreneurship.

Set in her ways and critical, Annie believes she has all the answers she needs for her life and some left over for others. The walls she so carefully built to hide behind start crumbling, and she realizes she has much to learn about hope, faith, trust, and unconditional love. She is surprised and humbled when she realizes that some of her best teachers are the Party of One-ers.

All Annie thought she needed was a little company at mealtimes; instead over time and over dinner she overcomes fears, examines her prejudices, works through grief, makes new friends, renews a long lost faith, and finds love in the one person she would have least expected.

PURPOSE:  Believers are encouraged to strengthen their faith and take action—instead of wallowing in the great regret of what might have been. Unbelievers, privy to Annie’s candid thoughts, doubts and cynicism, may be influenced to take that first step of faith toward God—despite what others might think of them.

UNIQUENESS:  Annie McGee is a real person with real thoughts and emotions—some of which are nice and some not so nice. She’s not a fairy tale princess or a Christian super hero. She thinks what many of us think, but don’t want to admit.  Annie has not “arrived.” She still has a way to go as a Christian—just like the rest of us real people.

Status: This book has not been self-published or traditionally published before.

Clarice is represented by literary agent Joyce Hart of Hartline Literary Agency. If you are an editor interested in hearing more about Party of One, contact Joyce Hart at joyce@hartlineliterary.com.

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