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This is a story of a successful businesswoman, owner of a landscape nursery, determined to change course midstream in her life to become a novelist. So far, not unusual, but would you orchestrate an affair involving your husband with another appealing woman to study their reactions and progress to provide material for that first novel? And then be miffed when things turned sexual?
Laura Rider wants to write novels concerned with ?conscious romance.? What does a self-actualizing, thoughtful woman want and how does she get it? In her estimation, the man must exhibit a blend of feminine and masculine characteristics: both supportive and take-charge. She had adored Jenna Faroli for years in her role as the hostess of her own radio interview show. When husband Charlie accidentally meets Jenna and e-mails are exchanged, Laura sees her chance. Jenna is exactly the kind of woman that she wants to be in her novels. She, with the full knowledge of her husband, begins a shared e-mail campaign on Charlie?s behalf designed to manipulate Jenna into meeting Charlie. Of course it works, but not entirely as Laura envisioned. The naming of body parts in e-mails isn?t quite what she expected.
The story line is bizarre enough to be somewhat compelling, though still over the edge on believability. Curiously, both Laura and Jenna had been non-sexual for years. Of the three main characters, only Jenna comes across as any where near normal, though not particularly sympathetic. Charlie is simply goofy. Laura starts to operate in fantasy land, scarcely aware that affairs invariably are blinding, become old, and cause hurt and harm and are not some sort of pristine love laboratory. As this strange scenario is falling apart, Laura is a guest on Jenna?s radio show, and is subjected to a withering unbraiding by Jenna for her pretensions of wanting to be a writer. Laura, oblivious to the put-downs, leaves the studio on cloud nine. And it is Jenna who must try to salvage what is left of her life.
In this quirky story, it?s doubtful that the reader can take away much. The author really provides little closure on this strange scenario. In addition, Laura is not consistently presented. She is a space cadet in one scene and more worldly in the next. Though perhaps not the main theme, one thing is evident: using e-mail is problematic, especially when privacy is wanted. The author also visited this topic in her novel Disobedience.
Apr 26, 2009
Not my cup of tea..
It had a rough start, some of the writing towards the beginning forced me to reread a sentence or two to get to their meaning. Too many words and emotions in one sentence? Once we get to the point where we are introduced to all the characters, it flows simpler.
I loved the packaging of this little book, it was quite adorable. A cute little hardcover with a vintage cover, but I had mixed feelings about the contents. I could not bring myself to empathize with any of the main characters; and the subject matter was pretty shallow, or convoluted. I can't make up my mind. It is good that it was an 'easy read'; I am glad to not have spent a lot of time on it. I do not think I enjoy reading about flippant infidelity or trying to find something sensible or positive to possibly come from it. Once I finish a book I would like to come away with a lesson learned, or a sense of accomplishment, but I didn't quite get any good feelings from the book. The subject matter was just not something that could offer a positive take on it. Such as the synopsis warns of disturbing events, but I certainly disagree with the idea that Laura was transformed into a high caliber artist. Humph!
I did enjoy the imagery of the gardens that the Riders had created, I would love to visit such a place. The story was interesting when imagining what in the world was Laura Rider thinking; is she a little off her rocker? All this sinning and emotional upheaval just to learn how to write a romance novel? But for those who don't mind the silliness of the premise then it could be a fun adventure, it is so strange it could be witty. And as I said, it is a quick read therefore if you do decide to read it this is not a book that will take a lot of time, so you won't be mad at it for that.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-12-08 Oprah-anointed Hamilton once again takes readers to the Midwest, this time lacing her narrative with winning humor. Laura Rider and her husband, Charlie, live in Hartley, Wis., where they own and run Prairie Wind Farm. After 12 years of marriage, Laura decides to stop sleeping with Charlie, and although lovemaking is his "one superb talent," she's convinced she's "used up her quota." Also, Laura has a secret fantasy: to be an author. After she meets local public radio host Jenna Faroli, Laura decides to write a romance and encourages a flirtation between Charlie and Jenna, an experiment that she thinks will help her write her book. Their flirtation quickly slides into an affair, with Laura's sly interference. Laura, at once jealous and pleased, benefits from the inevitable chain of events, while Jenna isn't so lucky. Though the plotting is a bit predictable, the female characters are sharply observed and delineated, and the humorous tone will be an appealing surprise to Hamilton's readers. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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