The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax

Title: The Accidental Bestseller

Author: Wendy Wax
Publisher: Berkley (TRD); 1 edition (Jun 2 2009)
Paperback: 432 pages
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Reading this book was like reading a book within a book or reading about how the book was written. Well, kind of. Confused? Keep reading.

It’s a story about 4 friends, their happiness, their loss, their struggles, but most of all their friendship. Four women, Mallory, Tanya, Kendall and Faye meet in a writer’s conference 10 years ago when they were just aspiring writers. 10 years later each is successful in her own right. But even though they have been friends for so long they have things they have hidden from each other and other people closest to them.

Mallory is a New York Times bestselling author but as far as her life is concerned, she is a closed book. She has a compulsion of completing at least 20 pages of writing everyday no matter what. Tanya works 2 jobs, has 2 girls, is a single mother and in spite of being an author of multiple books, the income isn’t enough to support her family. She has always been so independent and the people in her life have disappointed her to the extent that she afraid of relying on anyone again. Faye is the wife of a Pastor and a famous evangelist. She writes inspirational fiction, but underneath all that happiness and success is a secret which will have the power to destroy her as well as her husband’s career.

Finally we come to Kendall. She is the connecting thread between all the individual stories. When her husband of 25 years leaves her for another woman and her career is going down the drains, her friends help her out in the time of need. What results is a book, Sticks and Stones, which had Kendall’s name on it but is ghost written by all her friends. It’s a book about 4 writers who are friends just like they are. As they write their own parts, they struggle with how much to reveal and how much to hide. Finally they end up writing about their deepest secrets, something they haven’t shared with their friends or even family.

When the book becomes a Bestseller, the scrutiny and analyzing that comes with it threatens to destroy their careers and their friendship.

What I liked most about the book was how it handled the individual characters as well as their impact on each other without confusing the reader. There are these 4 friends that are central to the story, but there is also an editor, the editor’s assistant Lacy, besides their spouses, love interests, children and grandchildren. Before reading the book I wondered about how Ms. Wax would keep everything clear and smooth flowing. But all I can say is that the execution is flawless. The publishing process, the life of a writer and the inside tidbits of a publishing house mentioned in the book are fascinating.

The process of writing a book, struggling through it all, making it to the bestseller’s list intermingled with the stories of triumphs and tribulations of four best friends and writers was entertaining, exciting, and unputdownable.

I would especially say that I LOVED the ending, everything neatly wrapped up with an upbeat or happy note, just as I like it.

Highly Recommended.

WendyPhotoAbout the author: Wendy Wax began her broadcast career at a tiny radio station in Athens, Georgia, where she chose to attend college after reading Gone With the Wind one too many times. Over the last twenty years she has written and produced a wide range of corporate and broadcast projects and has worked on commercials and feature films. She is also an experienced on-air and voice-over talent and hosted a live radio talk show called “Desperate & Dateless” in the early eighties.

She lives in Atlanta with her husband and their two elementary school-aged boys. Annnddddddddd, she has written 4 other books, how happy does that make me? Here they are.

Read Melody’s review here. She has some awesome quotes from the book too.

Review: A Duke to die for by Amelia Grey

Title: A Duke to die for
Author: Amelia Grey
Pages: 384
Release Date: April 2009

Published by: Sourcebooks Casablanca, an Imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc.
Genre: Regency Romance

From the dust jacket: When the rakish fifth Duke of Blakewell’s unexpected and shockingly lovely new ward arrives, she claims to carry a curse that has got each of her previous guardians to an untimely end. As she tries to persuade her to manage her own fortune, and he tries to find her a suitable husband, they become scandalously entangled. When several potential deadly accidents befall the Duke, Henrietta is the only one who can help him…

Blake becomes a Duke and inherits a large fortune after his father’s accidental death just 2 years back. But still his rakish ways continue. He is more interested in card parties, frolicking with women and horse racing than he is in managing his estate and settling down.

Into this happy-go-lucky life of the Duke’s, enters a 19 year old charming, beautiful and intelligent Henrietta. She claims his father was the last guardian on a list her father had prepared before his death. And as Duke’s father is dead, he should take a position of her guardian. For a man who is not used to take care of his own responsibilities and who does not loose an opportunity to take every beautiful girl to his bed, Henrietta comes as a shock. Blake is immediately attracted to her and wants to shirk off her responsibility and the only way he thinks fit is to find her a suitable husband. Meanwhile Blake and Henrietta try to control their immense attraction and liking for each other.

I really liked the London season shown in this book. One could picture the colorful gowns, the candlelight’s, the gentlemen in their evening coats and the overall glittering high society atmosphere very well. It was fun to read about the things a gentleman had to do to go on a date with a woman he wished to court.

Amelia and Blake were both likable characters, especially Amelia. She was young but had spunk and was not afraid of speaking her mind. Yet, there was certain vulnerability in her which was endearing. The scenes between Blake and Henrietta were nicely developed. But I wish there was more book space given to them. The other characters were okay but weren’t as interesting to read about. Even the scenes where the balloon venture was discussed with Gibby were not really that interesting. I couldn’t care less what happened to Gibby and his money even though I like him instantly.

The scenes between Blake and his cousins Race and Morgan were not that great. Firstly I thought they were the villains in the story. I kept thinking on the same line almost throughout the book. Here is a paragraph at the beginning of the book,

“Blake was friendly enough with his two cousins, but an unspoken rivalry had always simmered just below the surface of their relationships.

To the ton, the three grandsons of Lady Elder always appeared united; taking up for each other if need arose. But when they were alone, it wasn’t unusual for one to try to best the others, be it at shooting, racing, or fencing, though they never admitted to the competition unless it was to gain the favor of a young miss.”

I might have read a little too much into the above, but because of these very sentences I could not warm up to Morgan and Race.

All in all, I found ‘A Duke to die for’ to be a descent book, but not be listed in the top romantic books I have read. A descent enough read. I would certainly try another Amelia Grey novel.

This review was originally published at ijustfinished.

Read Meghan’s review here. She liked the book more than I did.

Disclaimer: The sentences quoted above are from an ARC.