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Just before the holidays, I enjoyed reading the novel, “Bellwether” by Connie Willis. This was published in 1996; I came across a recommendation for it in Library Journal’s “Dusty Books” blog dated December 8. In the blog, it was described as ” adorable, smart, Gen X chick lit.”

In 1998, Connie Willis also wrote, “To Say Nothing of the Dog,” which was so highly recommended to me by a friend that she gave me a copy of it…and it didn’t work for me. I just couldn’t get into the time travel element, even though it had some cleverly hilarious scenes.

“Bellwether” takes place in a ’90s think tank where Sandra Foster studies fads. Aspects of the story are like a time travel…going back to when fancy coffee was just taking off. Of course, Sandra has her antennae out for anything that may be an incipient fad.  She begins collaborating with another researcher, using sheep. And in the process, they learn the importance of a bellwether. Of course, Sandy and her fellow researcher fall in love, and even win a big though mysterious prize.

This isn’t a science fiction book, though that’s what Connie Willis typically writes. It is a workplace story, complete with crazy corporate campaign and crazy-making colleagues.

I read this book through to the end, and at certain points, I wasn’t sure why. I told my husband several times that I was waiting for the real story to start. Even so, I found Sandra intriguing, and will recommend this book to those who like sassy  heroines and clever writing.

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