Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Indiscretion by Charles Dubow: A Review

IndiscretionIndiscretion by Charles Dubow
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

3 1/2 stars.

I've been reading a lot of books about rich people lately. And I must admit that rich people's problems, around which this story revolves, simultaneously fascinate and infuriate me. With that out of the way, there was much about this book that I did enjoy.

This is the story of an affair and its devastating effects on a marriage and on a friendship. When Harry and Maddy Winslow meet young, vibrant Claire, they are both captivated. But only Harry cannot stop there. The two are soon engaged in a love affair which ultimately, and inevitably, has repercussions neither could imagine.

My primary gripe is with the narrator. The entire novel is narrated by Maddy's childhood friend, Walter, a lonely bachelor who has pined away for Maddy his entire life. I think Dubow's going for Nick Carroway feeling here, but while Nick provides a somewhat removed (even unbiased) perspective on Gatsby and Daisy, by the end of this novel, Walter comes off as a voyeur of sorts, obsessive to the point of creepy. I also had a difficult time with what felt like a device as Walter narrates the intimate scenes between Claire and Harry. I know, I know, he explains how he has access to this information via Harry himself and his writing (Harry is a National Book Award winning novelist). However, it felt (at times) contrived.

My other complaint has to do with a chapter near the end of the book. I don't want to spoil anything...but in case you're sensitive to that, STOP HERE. But it has that Freshman English "and it was all a dream" quality that I just can't tolerate. I actually both anticipated it and then grimaced when it happened. I get what he was trying to do...but blah.

My last complaint is not about the book per se, but rather about Harry himself. I hated Harry. I just did. He had everything and still wanted more. I know this is the point of the story, but I feel like he got his just desserts. And because I didn't care much for Maddy either, I wasn't sure where my sympathies should lie? With Walter? Maybe with Claire.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Fresh Start Summer

Some of you may know that I do a little moonlighting as a freelance editor. It's a terrific side gig for me -- a job that I really enjoy (and one I can do in my PJs as well). But what I love most about editing (besides getting to read a lot of fabulous manuscripts and help ready them for publication) is the wide variety of enthusiastic and talented writers I get to work with.

I have recently had the pleasure of working with Beverly Nault, and so I am happy to help her promote the audio version of her novel, Fresh Start Summer, narrated by actress, Connie Ventress.

Here's the scoop!

From the award winning novel, now in audio! Set in small town Cherryvale, where "neighbors care, gardeners share, and God allows do-overs," you'll fall in love with the folks who live around the CherryPath.

 FSS audio cover                    

From an Amazon review of the book, "Novel Rocket and I recommend it as a thoroughly good read." Ane Mulligan

DW Garden pathMore about FRESH START SUMMER: With a smattering of humor, a touch of mystery, and a summer filled with fun, FRESH START SUMMER is perfect for those road trips, walking the dogs, or working in the garden. The entire family can listen in as Hollywood arrives in small town Cherryvale. After the two worlds collide, fires break out, and a townie most vocal about their intrusion goes missing. Are the new arrivals the culprits, or will they be the cure to helping mend a friendship in need of repair? With themes of prejudice, forgiveness, and fresh starts, the fun abounds with colorful characters, adorable pets, and a delightful small town setting where folks meet life head on, and rely on their faith to face life together. Selected as one of realsimple.com's Great Summer Reads of 2011 and recipient of the San Diego Christian Writer's Guild Excellence in Writing award, and narrated by the talented Hollywood actress, Connie Ventress, FRESH START SUMMER is now available for download on audible.com and Amazon.  

Bev HS 1About the Author:   Beverly Nault lives in Southern California with her high school sweetheart, Gary, where they take turns spoiling their two granddogs for practice. Besides writing The Seasons of Cherryvale series, she's the co-author of the best selling LESSONS FROM THE MOUNTAIN, WHAT I LEARNED FROM ERIN WALTON, with Mary McDonough, about the actress's life growing up on the classic television series. Find her at www.beverlynault.com, on Facebook, twitter @BevNault and Pinterest. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Rules of Civility by Amor Towles: A Review

Rules of CivilityRules of Civility by Amor Towles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 1/2 stars.

I really loved this book which follows a young secretary in 1930's New York as she and her roommate befriend the elusive and wealthy Tinker Grey. The mood is evocative of the jazz age, and everything in this novel (even the dialogue) sparkles. I was captivated by the setting and the characters. I just wanted to crawl inside of this world and stay there.

I read this book for my book club, on the heels of The Great Gatsby, a fact which certainly colors this review. My only criticism is that sometimes there is a fine line between homage and imitation, and this line is very blurry here. I couldn't tell whether some of the imagery and similarities in theme and character were simply cheeky nods to Gatsby or an outright assimilation.

No matter, it's a great read either way. Even if (especially if?) you love Gatsby.