PERSONAL: Born in England; married (divorced, 2001); children: one son. Education: Studied English language and literature at Leicester University.
ADDRESSES: Agent—c/o Author Mail, Penguin Publicity, 80 Strand, London WC2R 0RL, England. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: Writer. Also worked in advertising and as an English teacher.
Playing Away, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 2000.
Game Over, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2001.
Larger Than Life, Penguin Books (New York, NY), 2002.
The Other Woman's Shoes, Penguin Books (London, England), 2003, published as Lust for Life, Downtown Press (New York, NY), 2005.
Still Thinking of You (Even Though I Shouldn't Be), Penguin Books (London, England), 2004.
Husbands, Penguin Books (London, England), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Best-selling author Adele Parks debuted in 2000 with the first of her successful female characters looking for love in London. In Playing Away, Connie Green is a sexy, married management consultant who begins an adulterous relationship with a colleague she meets at a business convention. With husband Luke often away on business, Connie is bored until John Harding catches her attention and she is swept into a wild affair with disastrous consequences. One reviewer, writing for Publishers Weekly, felt that Playing Away is "initially humorous," but later "enervating" and "predictable." However, the same critic noted that "Parks is astute about male/female interactions" and "has cleverness to spare." Deborah Rysso of Booklist called the novel "compelling" and "fun."
In Game Over, Parks tells the story of Jocasta "Cas" Perry, a television producer who has just launched a successful new reality show in which couples who are ready to commit to marriage are tempted by ex-lovers. Cas herself has never been fond of commitment—that is, until she meets charming, upstanding Darren, who refuses to lure his former girlfriend away from her fiancée. Portraying the book as "a delightful romp," Kristine Huntley of Booklist noted that Game Over has "fun characters" and "a hilarious … premise." Writing for Entertainment Weekly, Allyssa Lee remarked, "There's some substance beneath that undeniably girlie cover."
Larger Than Life introduces readers to Georgina, who has been in love with Hugh since they met in college. Now, many years later, Hugh has left his wife and two children to be with Georgina, who soon finds herself filling the role of the pregnant "other woman." With a baby on the way and friends who do not understand her situation, Georgina is steadily growing uncertain as to whether Hugh is truly the man of her dreams. "It is a testimony to Parks's writing skills that her home-wrecker heroine retains our sympathy," observed Elizabeth Melette in Library Journal. Writing for Booklist, Patty Engelmann called Larger Than Life a "fun and funny ode to motherhood in modern London."
Parks's next novel, The Other Woman's Shoes, published in the United States as Lust for Life, is the story of two sisters, Martha and Eliza. Each sister thinks the other has the better life. Just as Eliza leaves her sexy but unmotivated musician-boyfriend and decides that older sister Martha has the stable life she wants, Martha's husband up and leaves, and Martha resolves to rid herself of her perfect-housewife persona. As the sisters essentially exchange lives, they must help each other find love and happiness. In a critique of the novel for Kirkus Reviews, one reviewer commented, "Throw in all the right ingredients—fashion, sex, and female empowerment—blend, and out comes this frothy, enjoyable read."
Parks's later novels are Still Thinking of You (Even Though I Shout'tt Be), which focuses on four thirty-something college friends—Rich, Jason, Ted, and Lloyd—who meet at a French ski resort to celebrate Rich's recent engagement, and Husbands, which follows Bella Lawrence as she tries to find the right time to tell her new husband that she's still married to another man—who happens to be her best friend's new beau.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 2000, Deborah Rysso, review of Playing Away, p. 1861; August, 2003, Patty Engelmann, review of Larger Than Life, p. 1957; March 15, 2004, Kristine Huntley, review of Game Over, p. 1266.
Entertainment Weekly, August 15, 2003, Sharon Tanenbaum, review of Larger Than Life, p. 83; March 19, 2004, Allyssa Lee, review of Game Over, p. 71.
Kirkus Reviews, September 1, 2005, review of Lust for Life, p. 938.
Library Journal, July, 2000, Joyce Smothers, review of Playing Away, p. 141; August, 2003, Elizabeth Melette, review of Larger Than Life, p. 134.
Publishers Weekly, May 29, 2000, review of Playing Away, p. 49.
Adele Parks Home Page, http://www.adeleparks.com (January 23, 2006).