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Lenora Stone is a thirty-eight-year-old photographer who has worked for Baltimore Scene, a magazine about local events and personalities, for the past ten years. Her demanding boss, Dawna, is getting closer and closer to saying the “f” word — fired — because Lenora has lost interest in her job and has been habitually tardy and inattentive. But Lenora can’t afford to lose her job because her decade-old car needs numerous repairs and is on the verge of failing her completely and her small condominium’s market value has plunged below the principal balance of the mortgage. Worse, the mortgage’s adjustable interest rate has recently caused the amount of her monthly payment to increase, and she has a stack of credit card bills that she cannot pay.

For the past three years, Lenora has been dating Gerald, a steady, dependable, and hard-working professional who is struggling to make his new public relations firm a success despite the economic times. Two years ago, Gerald had an affair with an old flame, but Lenora forgave him. Lenora wants to marry Gerald, but he is unwilling to make a permanent commitment to her. Their relationship has become comfortable, predictable, and less intimate than in its early days. And lately Gerald has been spending a lot of evenings away from Lenora, claiming that he is in meetings or having dinner with potential clients.

While Gerald remains singularly devoted to his business, Lenora finds herself uncontrollably drawn to and daydreaming about Raymond Slater, a husband, twenty-something landscaper she photographed for the magazine. When Ray approaches her about creating a promotional brochure for his company, Lenora cannot turn down an opportunity to spend more time with him, telling herself that their relationship will be purely professional.

Lenora’s life changes the instant she realizes that her weekly habit of buying a few lottery tickets has finally paid off. Not only did she win the jackpot, she was the only winner which means that she will collect the entire five million dollar prize! Suddenly, Lenora is able to indulge all of her fantasies — and she does, purchasing a new BMW, mansion, and photography studio in short succession. But Lenora soon realizes that her financial status isn’t the only thing that has changed. Gerald is miraculously ready to settle down, Ray also pursues her, and she is welcomed into social circles where she was previously shunned.

But for Lenora, the things that really matter seem to still be beyond her reach. With her life falling apart, despite her seemingly good fortune, Lenora has to evaluate whether the changes in her lifestyle are worth the toll they are taking on her life.


Author Connie Briscoe
Author Connie Briscoe puts a modern spin on an age-old question: Is wealth a blessing or a curse? Money Can’t Buy Love is a fast-paced, highly entertaining and ultimately poignant exploration of that question.

Lenora Stone has struggled financially for years. Like so many Americans, she was finally able to purchase a home, only to see its value plummet more rapidly than the principal balance of the mortgage, and short-sightedly agreed to an adjustable interest rate never expecting her monthly payment to increase to its current amount. Worse, because of the economic climate, in past few years she has not received the raises or bonuses she counted on when she bought the condominium. Every month, she has to decide which bills she can pay and which she can ignore a while longer.

Her boss, Dawna, is surly, demanding, manipulative, and thoroughly fed up with Lenora’s lackadaisical attitude toward her work. The only reason Dawna hasn’t terminated Lenora’s employment is because she is a talented photographer — one of the best in the area. But Dawna and Lenora’s relationship is growing increasingly tempestuous, as Dawna demands steady, timely attendance at work from Lenora, while Lenora resents the belittling and condescending manner in which Dawna speaks to her.

Of course, Lenora never really believed that she would win the lottery’s biggest prize, the jackpot. Although Gerald told her that she was wasting her money on tickets each week, she persisted with the hope of winning just a small prize that would bring her a slight respite from her financial woes. When she realizes that she has won the five million dollar jackpot, her reaction is thoroughly believable: She is shocked, excited, and then becomes ill for several days as she contemplates the way in which the money will change every aspect of her life.

Briscoe’s depiction of a woman who is suddenly transformed from having virtually no assets to being a millionaire is compelling, entertaining, and compassionate. Lenora is human, flawed. Naturally, the first thing she buys is her dream car. Next she contemplates the purchase of her dream house, even as Gerald warns her to consult a financial planner and reserve at least half of her winnings to be wisely invested. Gerald frequently tells Lenora that she is making decisions and spending her winnings too rapidly, especially when she leaves her job and is determined to open her own photography studio despite her lack of business plan or a tangible vision for the enterprise. Lenora is like the proverbial kid in the candy store with regard to material items, as well as her relationships. Headstrong and empowered by her new financial independence, Briscoe crafts a believable story of a woman clearly headed for financial and emotional ruin.

The story moves quickly, as Lenora discovers that her friends’ attitudes toward her have changed, she has been too open in her dealings with the media, and long-lost relatives appear seeking charity. When Lenora’s friends tell her that she has also changed, she does not believe them. As the action pulses toward the book’s conclusion, readers will want to know if Lenora will ever realize just how much she has changed in such a short period of time and, more importantly, what she will do when she comes to appreciate how she has evolved — in both good and bad ways — since becoming a millionaire.

Lenora, so desperate for love, acceptance, and security, is frustratingly selfish and self-centered, yet empathetic, as are the other characters in the story, including Gerald. Money Can’t Buy Love is a thoughtful exploration of values, ethics, and priorities. Briscoe’s lucky-yet-unlucky protagonist eventually discovers that she must decide what matters most to her, and will bring her true happiness and peace: Money and the things it can buy or life’s intangibles upon which no price tag can be affixed. Money Can’t Buy Love is a fast-paced, sometimes humorous, heart-warming morality play that will have readers hoping that Lenora finally finds the kind of love than no amount of money can buy.

I read Money Can’t Buy Love in conjunction with the 2011 Read ‘n’ Review and Outdo Yourself Reading Challenges.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received one copy of Money Can’t Buy Love free of charge from the author in conjunction with the review and virtual book tour program. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own. This disclosure complies with 16 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Enter to Win a Copy of Money Can’t Buy Love

The comment posted by Krystal Larson at Live to Read was selected at random, so a copy of Money Can’t Buy Love was sent to Krystal!

Thanks to all who participated!


  1. Stephanie

    A pet shark, the biggest one I could afford.

    thegirlonfire27 at gmail dot com

  2. Marjorie

    I would move to British Columbia so quick your head would spin.
    This book sounds like a great read. Thanks for the chance to win it.

  3. Mona Garg

    Thanks for the giveaway 🙂
    Hubby and I are homebodies so I would buy a mansion on a wooded lot equipped with all the latest modern technology.

    And, while I’m dreaming, I would want the package to include interior design services and be fully staffed(housekeeper, chef, gardener,…)

  4. I would purchase a home in Jackson Hole WY. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway

  5. Pam Keener

    I would go on a wonderful cruise to the Mediterranean Sea.

  6. Margaret

    The first thing I would do is buy a beach house on a tropical island (anywhere) and enjoy the rest of the summer. Thanks for the giveaway!


  7. Lisa Garrett

    I would buy a condo on Pensacola Beach.

  8. Linda Henderson

    I would like a beach house in Hawaii. I would love to be able to go there and spend a lot of time by the ocean.

    seriousreader at live dot com

  9. I would buy a new car.
    mce1011 AT aol DOT com

  10. I would hire someone to watch my house and pets for the summer and take my family on the road for three months. We’d visit National Parks and try to see every state in the U.S. The next year, I’d do the same but we’d road trip through Canada!

  11. mamabunny13

    I would build my dream house which would include an awesome library and beautiful gardens to walk through, entertain by or to just sit and read in.
    mamabunny13 at gmail dot com

  12. Denise Z

    I would build a new bathroom with all the relaxing features of a wonderful hidaway 😆 Thank you so much for sharing about this book today. I was rushed and just going through my emails and after I read this one had to hop over to enter.


  13. Renee Richardson

    I would get a new house. I sure would love to find out how I would react. Thanks for the great giveaway!

    Renee R
    fattybumpkins at yahoo dot com

  14. I would buy my husband Tom the 1967 Corvette that he wants so badly! He has an 84 that is what we could afford. Then I would move us to another state so that he could find work. I’m a neck brace since Nov. 1 from a car accident and he has been doing everything for me as I broke my neck. I hope to get the brace off in September. This was my 8th surgery on my neck/back that he has gotten me through and he deserves not to work if he doesn’t want to. I think he would always work at something but probably no longer at accounting. He was working as controller and there is no work in Michigan even if you have excellent references.

    I’m a follower and a subscriber. Please enter me for the book! It sounds like a great read!
    Brenda Rupp recently posted..A Christian Writer’s World ~~ Characters who grip your heart: FROM ASHES TO HONOR – Loree Lough – Free BookMy Profile

  15. This sounds great! I would love a chance to read it! I’m pretty simple, I’d pay off my house and take the fam to Europe on vacation, then come home and save the rest! Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. Michelle C

    I would upgrade to a larger house and replace my old Jeep with a new one! Thanks for another great review and the chance to win.
    mrsmchappell at gmail dot com

  17. Ollie Moss

    I would purchase a books store and take a long trip to the islands, any islands with losts of eye candy!!!!!!!!! 😛 😆 😀 ğŸ˜Ž ❗ ❗

  18. Samantha

    I’d save half for my tuition and take a year off for travels!!! I’ve always wanted to go to Europe :mrgreen: 🙂 😛 😀

  19. Jennifer H.

    Take my husband on at least a one month vacation…if not larger.
    jenhedger at hotmail dot com

  20. Linda Kish

    I would hop a plane to Hawaii for a couple weeks.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  21. Patricia

    That’s easy: Jewelry ❗
    patricia dot mariani dot esq at gmail dot com

  22. Brittany Gale

    I would buy myself a house in the country!


  23. Well first off I would buy a car and hire someone to drive me where I need to go – doctors, the store etc.

  24. Pingback: Connie Briscoe, author of Money Can’t Buy Love, on tour July/August 2011 | TLC Book Tours

  25. Pingback: TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS for August 1st – 5th | TLC Book Tours

  26. Darcell Miles

    A vacation home on the beach and stay there for about a month before returning home. I need a break 😀

  27. Pingback: Review: Money Can’t Buy Love by Connie Briscoe « I'm Booking It

  28. Pingback: Semicolon » Blog Archive » Saturday Review of Books: July 23, 2011

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