Tuesday, June 25, 2019

The Editor

In this refreshing, imaginative novel of self-discovery, a debut author has his work--and his life--edited by the inimitable Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

Steven Rowley (Lily and the Octopus) explores the complicated relationship between mothers and sons in his wise and deeply engrossing second novel, The Editor. Set in Manhattan in the early 1990s, the story centers on James Smale, an aspiring writer in his late 20s, who has worked "a never-ending string of toxic, depressing temp jobs" and is in a committed--although maybe not forever--relationship with Daniel, a loving and spirited companion who works in the theater.

The book opens with a dramatic and dynamic scene that establishes the tone of the novel: James is summoned to the high-powered offices of Doubleday--the book company has expressed interest in his novel, The Quarantine, a semi-autobiographical story about an emotionally estranged mother and son. Nerves and self-consciousness plague James as he waits in a conference room, and matters grow even more overwhelming when in walks Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis--former first lady of the United States who has become an esteemed editor in the last third of her life.

That moment marks the start of a working relationship that will later turn into friendship. Perceptive, analytical and astute Jackie becomes a literary mentor to James. She also raises questions--on the page and off--that gently nudge James to dig deeper into the emotional landscape of his fraught relationship with his mother and the rest of his family.

The resonance of Rowley's originality and sensitivity shines on every page. He has written a refreshing, superbly crafted novel of hard-won self-discovery filled with big, well-paced scenes and a pitch-perfect blend of humor and compassion that will charm and fully engage readers.

The Editor: by Steven Rowley

Putnam, $27.00 Hardcover,  9780525537960, 320 pages

Publication Date: April 2, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (April 9, 2019), link HERE

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

I Owe You One

A fun, lighthearted story about a spirited 20-something woman tangled up in family, business and romantic woes.
Fawn "Fixie" Farr is dependable and loyal--the youngest child in a British family that owns and operates a West London home-goods store that sells everything from licorice to hardware to children's toys. Since Fixie's father's death, Fixie has honored him by preserving and growing the business he started, working alongside her mother and older siblings Jake and Nicole. "Family loyalty is a big thing" to 27-year-old Fixie, who earned her nickname because of her penchant for fixing things and people--and keeping everything in its proper place.
But all that's challenged when domineering Jake starts socializing with posh people and wants to overhaul the business to appeal to a more upscale crowd. When Fixie's mother has a health scare and takes a hiatus from the shop, normally non-confrontational Fixie locks horns with Jake and his high-minded plans, along with beautiful, yet "drifty and vague" Nicole, and her uncle, who steps in to lend a hand. Along the way, Fixie's former crush Ryan returns from an unsuccessful stint in Hollywood, and Fixie rescues the laptop of handsome investment manager, Sebastian, who, in his gratitude, proclaims to Fixie, "I owe you one." If Fixie takes Seb up on his offer, might it prove the impetus finally to upend the status quo of her life?
A cast of quirky characters infuses this briskly paced, lighthearted story. Kinsella (My (Not So) Perfect Life) adds another entertaining meet-cute rom-com to her long line of escapist fictions.

I Owe You One: A Novel by Sophie Kinsella

Dial Press, $27.00 Hardcover,  9781524799014, 448 pages

Publication Date: February 5, 2019

To order this book on INDIEBOUND, link HERE

NOTE: This review is a reprint and is being posted with the permission of Shelf Awareness. To read this review on Shelf Awareness: Reader's Edition (February 8, 2019), link HERE