The Editor by Steven Rowley

The Editor

Steven Rowley

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a funny and poignant novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, will change him forever–both as a writer and a son.

Start Reading….

Read Excerpt Now


Sign me up to receive news about Steven Rowley.

Place our blog button on your blog to let people know you are a member of this great program!

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a novel about a struggling writer who gets his big break, with a little help from the most famous woman in America.

After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie--or Mrs. Onassis, as she's known in the office--has fallen in love with James's candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book's forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can't bring himself to finish the manuscript.

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page...

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a funny, poignant, and highly original novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor will change him forever--both as a writer and a son.

Advance Galley Reviews

I found this book to be pretty well done. I liked it quite a bit more than I thought I would. I definitely see myself reading more from this author in the future.

What a gripping first chapter!! The author’s introduction of Jackie O.was a complete and pleasant surprise. She was beautifully humanized, and the the blossoming relationship/friendship between Jackie and James, the main character, was intriguing. I felt the frustration of James, as he battled through his relationship with his mother. His siblings brought levity to a troubling family dynamic. This book is not a fast and light read, but I enjoyed spending time with the characters as the story unfolded.

This book intrigued me as you might expect it would, with a Jackie Kennedy as an editor. There is such a mystique about the woman she was. The perspective of the writer she edits and how her interaction with him also shaped his relationship with his mother was very well written and thoroughly enjoyable.

This was not at all what I was expecting. This book was surprising and more different than most of what I read. I was drawn in because it was about an author and the writing process and because it featured Jackie, it just sounded like something different. I liked this book, but because it was so different from my usual reads, it took me quite a while to read it. I'm not used to books about real life, dealing with just real feelings and emotions (without some murder or mystery in there). If you enjoy stories about families, about forgiveness and truth, then you'll love this book.

When I found out about this book, I immediately wanted to read this since I'm an ardent fan of Jackie O. This was absolutely a delightful and charming read as well as a great story.The main character,James Smale is a struggling writer who is about to get his first break is so charismatic and charming. Who couldn't love him! The book explores mother-son relationships. It also delves into how the publishing world works. I love the way the authors invisions how Jackie Kennedy would be act as an editor and as a person. Her style and grace really comes through in this story. I loved this book and highly recommend it as a feel good read.

Thank you First To Read for giving me the chance to read an advanced copy of The Editor by Steven Rowley. This was not one of my favorite books, but it was an interesting novel getting to read about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as an editor and what it is like in the world as a writer and editor.

Not as engaging to me as his first, Lily and the Octopus, but really enjoyed the portions in which the protagonist interacted with the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis character. It is a book about an author writing a book about mother and sons with his editor, Kennedy Onassis, guiding him along the way to finish the book and the question mark that is his life, identity and relationship with his own mother.

"Every mother has a story." James Smale has written a book about the relationship between a mother & son. Patterned after his own troubled relationship with his mother, the publisher Doubleday picks up the book & Jackie Kennedy Onassis becomes his editor. Through her suggestions & questions she pushes James to rewrite the ending so that the son gains a better understanding of himself and his mother. When his mother reveals a family secret, James loses his sense of direction & hope for an ending. This book is inciteful about how writers work, find their inspiration, and grind to publication. Jackie O. is the author's hook to gain an audience. I'm not sure how realistic a portrayal it is, but it is an interesting & respectful one.

I didn’t really read the description of the book before I started. I’m so glad that I went in blind as I was just as unnerved as James when Jackie walked into that conference room. This was a beautiful and engaging story about relationships and how we must try to truly know someone. I also appreciated how even the legend of Mrs. Kennedy was given the humanity her character deserved. This was an enjoyable read with touches of heart and compassion.

4.5 stars. This was such an enjoyable book. I really loved it. Imagine if Jackie Kennedy Onassis was your book editor on your very first published novel. James Smales was this quirky lovable author. This book was about Jame's journey to enrich his relationship with his Mother. Amazingly, Jackie took a back seat in the story but appeared often enough with an important part in the novel to make it interesting. I loved the ending to the story. Pure perfection! A big thank you to First to Read and Penguin Random House for one terrific read!

A charming read. This isn't a genre I normally enjoy, but the writing style was accessible and the story had a good balance of quirk and drama. The back half takes a turn that feels out of nowhere and gives the book a disjointed feel, but it's still a pleasant read and surprisingly a page-turner.

I love books about books, character studies, and changing family relationships, so I knew from early on that this would be a book I'd enjoy. Coming all of this with some not overdone humor and strong writing style, and I was sold. This is definitely a story I'd recommend for anyone who shares even some of my reading loves.

I normally love books about books and book publishing. I am also a Jackie fan. However, I started reading this book three times and couldn’t get past the first fifty pages. I enjoy humor and awkward characters, but James Smale’s awkwardness was painful to me.

Thank you for the opportunity to read and review The Editor. I did not connect with this story and had no real desire to read and finish. I found the main protagonist annoying rather than endearing and was put-off by many of the situations in which he found himself. I did enjoy the "gimmick" of Jacqueline Onassis as his editor but felt the protagonist's interactions were cringe-worthy at times and got in the way. I believe this will have a wider appeal and that it will find an audience that will fall in love with the story. It just was not for me.

This was a lovely story about family and the challenges of being true to yourself while also being true to the people who love you... It was sweet and thoughtful and brought a tear to my eye more than once. Like so many, I'm oddly captivated by the thought of Jackie O as a combination literary persona and cultural icon; there is a weird cognitive dissonance at the thought of her going into an office and making coffee and then going home and living the fabulous life of a Bouvier sister (to paraphrase a FANTASTIC biography that I recently read about her and her sister Lee Radziwell). It's a beguiling duality that is surprisingly compelling and makes for a fascinating backdrop to what would otherwise have been a relatively ordinary story about an author's first book and the secrets that underpin his life. I found the back and forth between James' "regular" life and Jackie's "decidedly not-so" to be delightful and add a layer of depth to the insights that James reaches with regard to his own mother. It was a clever construct that was executed with love and compassion and a deliciously snarky undertone and Rowley deserves accolades for it!

The premise of this book is that an unknown author lands a book contract and his editor is Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. I was intrigued by the synopsis, but the actual execution of the story fell short for me. The first 60 or so pages are consumed by James, the author, gushing over Mrs. Onassis and being completely starstruck by her. It got a bit tedious. James' book is about his family, and his mother doesn't make it easy for him to discuss the book or his feelings about his family. Neither James nor his mother are particularly likable. I felt the dialogue and interactions between James and his partner, Daniel, were more authentic and more entertaining. However, James often comes off as completely selfish in his interactions with Daniel and I kept wondering why Daniel stayed with James.

A book about a book, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, and a New York setting? I had such a high hopes for this book and thankfully it delivered. Unknown author James Smale is going to have his semi-autobiographical novel published. At his first meeting with the publisher he is surprised to realize that his editor will be Jackie Kennedy Onassis. While working together on the book Mrs. Onassis and James develop a friendship and she urges him to mend his relationship with his mother. There were so many aspects of this book that I enjoyed. James' voice is funny and sarcastic and made me laugh numerous times. He has a sharp wit, but he's also guarded and vulnerable allowing us to the feel the pain of his broken relationship with his mother. The development of James' and Mrs. Onassis relationship evolved so naturally throughout the book. The book James is writing is based on his relationship with his mother and the unresolved conflicts they have. As part of the editing process Mrs. Onassis encourages him to resolve these issues and see his mother for who she really is. There were some profound conversations about motherhood that were so touching. I love a book with family drama and there's plenty here. James' mother is a difficult character and the dynamics with this siblings was fun to read. I will admit I was skeptical on the use of Mrs. Onassis as a character. But Rowley portrayed her so well. We get an inside look into Mrs. Onassis as publisher and glimpses into her private life, yet it does not feel overdone over gimmicky. If you enjoy books about books and mother-son relationships, I highly recommend picking this one up.

Loved the characters in this book! What a great read! A very quick read for me and it made me miss Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis! Defiantly going to have to check out the author's other book.

Steven Rowley has done it again! I absolutely loved Lily and the Octopus. Although, this book is very different in its plot, Steven's writing shows a timeless, sophisticated quality. The idea of Jackie Onassis as his editor is just perfection. Bravo! You MUST read this book!

I did enjoy this book and am grateful that I got to read it as an advanced copy. The story was definitely good and it gave an insight (even though it's fiction) into Jackie Kennedy as a publisher, which I was unaware she had done. It was slow for me to get through at some points early on, but once I got past those points, it was enjoyable.

I recently read Steven Rowley's first novel Lily and the Octopus and I really enjoyed it. This book proved to me that Rowley really is an incredible writer and he didn't just get lucky with his first book. I actually enjoyed this book even more that his first. This may have been because I was much more interested in the storyline given that I want to go into the publishing industry and the focus on the writing process was interesting to me. I often felt like either Steven was inside my head and was able to write all the thoughts/doubts/curiosities I've ever had or I was inside the main character, James', head hearing all of these same things. The main character was relatable and likeable to me. The relationship between James and his mother and James and Jackie Kennedy were so perfectly done by understanding how complicated human relationships can work. Amazing writing, complex characters, and engaging storyline. Highly recommend!

I’m struggling to choose a rating for this book as I’m fluctuating between 3.5* and 4*. I loved the premise of this novel and was unaware of Mrs. Onassis’ position in the publishing world during her third act. I loved his approach in how he included her in the story without making her the main character and avoiding any attempts at imagining who she was and the intimacy of her thoughts and feelings. I thought this was a safer decision and I believe he depicted her beautifully and loved her influence in the mother-son dynamics throughout the book. That being said this book was quite tedious to complete. There were elements that I felt were unnecessary, not cohesive or just failed to engage me. I pushed through to finish the book and even that was a struggle in some moments. I absolutely LOVED Lily and the Octopus, his first novel, but was a little disappointed in this one feeling flat and failing to pull me in and engage me completely. There were a few scenes or moments of 4* (mostly consisting of interactions with Mrs. O) but overall the book was a 3-3.5* read. I really wish we were able to include partial stars in our ratings! I’d like to thank First to Read for the advanced copy of this book!

This book follows a new author, James Smale, as he examines his life with the help of his editor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. James has written a book that basically tells the story of his life with his mother, and shows the very complex relationship between them; although he claims it's just a novel and not the story of his life. Jackie wants him to dig a little deeper as all good editors would, to get to the most uncomfortable parts of his life, to both heal himself, and finish his novel. I definitely enjoyed this book quite a bit. It had a great flow, and it was an easy read. There are many things I didn't realize/know about Jackie Kennedy, and one thing was that she was an editor. I am so glad that I had an opportunity to learn a little bit more about such an important woman in our history.

A special thank you to Penguin First to Read/Penguin Publishing Group for an ARC in exchange for an honest review. James Smale is a struggling writer in 1990s New York City. He finally sells his novel to a major publishing house, but what he doesn't know, is that his big break comes because one of the most famous women in America has championed his work. His editor is none other than Jacqueline Kenney Onasis—or Mrs. Onassis as she is called in the office—as in the former First Lady of the United States. She happened to fall in love with Jame's candid semi-autobiographical novel that pulls back the curtain on his own dysfunctional family. The stress of publication is putting on strain on James' relationships with both his partner and his family. James suddenly finds himself unable to finish the manuscript even with Jackie's encouragement. Jackie and James develop a friendship and it is Jackie who persuades James to visit his mother. James returns home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother and during the visit, a family secret is unearthed. It is another mother's intuition that has a hand in James' life's plan. Rowley's latest book is about mothers and sons and an unexpected friendship that will forever change one man. What I found so fantastic is that Jackie didn't eclipse James. Jackie is the perfect addition to the story with her poise, grace, and sophistication. There is also an immense sadness about her and instead of being swallowed up and consumed by grief, she and the story are empathetic and clever. Rowley took a risk using someone as famous as Jackie Kennedy Onassis because she could have stolen the scenes away from James thus making him more of a supporting character, but this doesn't happen at all. Rowley stays true to James' story. He is a well-developed character with an incredible amount of depth and growth. What happens instead is the two characters play off one another, and the reader is a witness to their beautiful friendship. It is so endearing and his words are as elegant as Jackie herself.

Sometimes the story you seek is the one right under your nose. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to read this book. The name Kennedy is what grabbed my attention, but the journey taken by the main character James is what I truly enjoyed.

Deeply moving, The Editor is a pilgrimage to visit and remember the women in our lives, in our history, in our stories. Rowley has crafted an intense and poignant novel that feels immensely personal. James Smale, a New York writer publishing his first novel, strikes up a fantastically surreal working relationship with his editor at Doubleday, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. What follows immediately after first meeting her, is a sweetly comic period of time with James as real and relatable as both the reader and James get accustomed to the idea that Jackie O is editing his book and will have a role in The Editor. Rowley handles her placement in the book absolutely perfectly. Jackie isn’t just a prop, but she’s also not a main character—in the best and most honest and amazing way. It is James’s story, after all. Jackie is there like a ghost, a corporeal spirit. She’s an energy, a truth, pushing James and guiding him into the future. Ms. Onassis is also incredibly developed as a character, not just the way she is written, but the way she is constructed within the novel itself. She’s not magic, she’s not all-knowing, she’s not a substitute mother. She’s more Jiminy Cricket than Blue Fairy. But more than that still. She’s all of the roles of significance, of importance, of forward motion. She’s that teacher, pushing you to achieve. She’s a mentor, bringing forth your best. She’s the mother, carefully tending your wounds. She’s the grandmother, distant enough by just one generation to see you as an individual person. She’s not all these things to James, but she is all these at once. She’s that kind of a person; she fulfills that kind of role. She’s deeply entrenched in this story, not because she’s Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, but because she’s written as a living, breathing woman. She’s a powerhouse representation of the many facets of women. Both amazingly complex, and brilliantly simple. Her role is streamlined to perfection. The book is told from the first person perspective of James in the most intimate way. Most of the book is in the present day for the story (1992-1994), interspersed with flashbacks from James's childhood. A brilliant time-line mash-up in the most surprisingly cohesive order. What at first seems random and anecdotal, actually proves to be a purposeful collection. These flashbacks are rather more like precise pieces of a puzzle; the pieces that hold up and back the rest of the book. In the gold standard, these memories are the ingots. The writing itself is stunningly beautiful...both easy and sublime. There's a reveal for James about halfway through that you can probably see coming, but I know I felt that my breath was on hold as it was delivered. This is already slated to be a movie and I hope it plays out just as brilliantly on the screen as it does on these pages. The story unfolds as we stay with James as he scratches away the outer layer of himself so that he may finally achieve the end goal of properly writing his book—with his editor. There's just so much to say and so much for James to do, I found myself unable to step away from the book. In fact, as I watched the page numbers tick upward, and James continues his journey, I remember wondering, as the gap between current page and end page began to close, "How can this book have sixty pages left?" Not because there’s a feeling of finality before it’s over, but because it felt like it was still churning. Where is this book going? Not out of disbelief, but out of wonder. And then it hit me. It’s so perfectly round, so brilliantly structured and inline with the book within this book. The ending is coming. And just like any wonderful book, the ending leaves you with an open hopefulness about how the story continues on beyond the last page.

I really struggled with this book. I thought it would have some interesting insight into Jackie Kennedy Onassis as a book editor, but it didn't touch on her editing as much as I would have liked. I also didn't like the main character all that much, and parts of it were boring. I don't regret reading it, but it's not a book I am planning on recommending to others.

When James Smale’s first novel is purchased by a publisher he doesn’t believe it can get any better, until he meets his editor - Jacqueline Onassis. James’ novel, The Quarantine, is based on his family and his relationship with his mother. While his siblings are thrilled about the book, it has caused a rift between mother and son. She has condemned the book without even reading it. While his book was personally chosen by Jacqueline Onassis for publication, as his editor she works with him to improve the manuscript and encourages him to talk with his mother to learn her true story. Until he can see who his mother is beyond a mother figure, his story has an unfinished feel. When he finally goes home for Thanksgiving, his mother shocks the family with revelations that not on,y change how James sees her, but has him questioning whether he should have written the book at all. James relationship with Jacqueline Onassis is warm and funny at times, but she is first and foremost his editor, offering advice as he struggles through changes I. His book and in his life. He looks to her as a taskmaster, a friend and occasionally a mother figure. However, it is his relationship with his own mother that changes as his book finally comes together. Rowley’s novel brings you inside a New York Publishing house, the Kennedy home in Martha’s Vineyard, to the home and family of James Smale and finally to an emotionally satisfying ending. This is on my list of the top ten books that I have read this year and I would highly recommend it. I would like to thank First to Read for making this book available for my review.

It's the first book that i have read of this author, and i must say i'm impressed. The beggining was a bit slow, but i loved the writer-editor relationship, and, specially the evolution of the relationship between James and his mother. When i was starting it i was expecting a lot more about Jackie, but i'm happy that it focused more in the family.

When I first saw this book offered from the #FirstToReadProgram the cover and description made me think it was a light and breezy historical fiction book. I was delighted to find out it was in reality a beautiful story of self discovery and family. This novel is based in the 1990’s and tells the story of a struggling writer finally publishing his book. His editor: none other than Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Using Jackie as a secondary character could have been cheesy but it was such a nuanced portrayal of a woman and not just an icon. Some of the descriptions early on were a bit wordy but all in all I really enjoyed this story!

As I don't share the main character's fascination with famous people, it took me a little while to get into this book. I did enjoy the writing and the self-deprecating way the author describes his meetings with the famous Jackie, and the trip to Martha's Vineyard was a nice, summery escape, but for me the main appeal of the story was the interaction between author and editor, the insight into that process and relationship, and the parallels to his relationship with his mother. For me, this book is about how our family affects us and shapes us, while at the same time we don't always realize what's going on in our own family.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review, which follows: What a charming book! As some have mentioned, the start is a bit slow (despite the big surprise in the first chapter!) but once the characters interact a bit more with one another and the true plot is revealed, it's hard to put this book down! The subject matter of mother-son relationships is surprisingly moving - I just love that the Kennedy name will draw people in but instead of gossipy fluff, they will receive a thought-provoking and intelligently-written story. Speaking of the Kennedys, gratifyingly, Jackie's presence was handled with grace and respect. Her role is ultimately quite welcome in lightening up what might otherwise be too heavy of a tale - an author grappling with identity through the publication of his semi-autobiographical novel. Having Jackie, specifically, be the editor makes us as the reader escape a bit into the world of "can you even imagine?" I liked this book and look forward to its success upon publication.

I really enjoyed this book. I love the concept of showing the writing process when the editor gets involved. And it was interesting to use such an historical figure as James Smale's editor. The scenes with James and his mother were well developed and while I may have seen the twist coming, it was still an enjoyable story. Now I only wish I was able to read the book within the book! Thanks to Penguin First to Read for the ARC!

Thank you Penguin First to Read. 3.75?? This book started off slow to me and it wasn’t until we got to spend time with James and his mother, as well as his family, that I was truly engaged. From there it got better and better, including James’s interactions with JO. For me at first, those interactions weren’t that compelling. I’m glad I stuck with it and truly Came to feel quite affectionate for James and his mother, as well as JO’s influence in the healing of their relationship. This indeed was a story about mothers and sons.

Steven Rowley has created another heart-warming book filled with characters who draw you in and make you empathize with them. This is a very enjoyable novel - one that examines a difficult parent-child relationship, a challenging romantic relationship, and a rewarding mentor relationship. I wondered if I could enjoy this as much as I enjoyed his previous book, and I'm pleased to say that I absolutely did.

I was very excited to receive an early advance copy of The Editor by Steen Rowley as I had heard such great things about his previous work. The Editor is about James Smale, a writer who has just finished a manuscript about a family dealing with an aloof mother hiding secrets. Its is loosely based on his own mother and their strained relationship. When he walks into Doubleday to meet with his editor he is blown away when none other than former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis glides in the door. She takes him in as a confidant as they complete the novel and she encourages him to make amends with his own mother to solve the ending of his book. Little does he know the secrets he will unmask. I liked the concept of having Jackie Onassis as the editor and although she is not a main character it adds an interesting level to the book. I also liked that the novel inside the book reflected aspects of the writers personal life. When Smale first meets her he claims to have a tendency to ramble and that could not be more telling of this book. We have to read every rambling incoherent and sometimes useless thought the main character has. It became more annoying then entertaining and I was not able to connect to the main character. I found his relationship with Mrs Onassis to be far fetched, I couldn't get to her wanting to let a virtual stranger into her inner sanctuary and put so much effort into his messed up relationship with his overly passive aggressive mother.

I was so excited to read my first book on this website. However the story put me to sleep. I read two books in the time since receiving this book. The narrator talks ways too much in his head and I found myself lost as to what the story was about.

As a young girl I was enamored with Jaqueline Kennedy and the First Family. I prayed when Patrick was born and when he died. Ten weeks later when JFK was assassinated on my tenth birthday,I cried again. I continued to admire Jackie Kennedy over many decades.So when I read that Jackie Kennedy Onassis was THE editor in this book I could not wait to acquire a copy. Thanks to The Penguin First to Read Program I was lucky enough to do just that. Even though this book is not about Jackie Kennedy, she is an intrinsic and wonderful addition to the story. She acts and reacts within these pages exactly as I believe that she would have done. So, in that regard, I can attest to being on the same page with Mr. Rowley.This book intelligently illuminates the working relationship between a writer and his editor; but, it is the depiction of their personal relationship that truly warms the heart. I found both sides of their relationship highly entertaining and interesting. The tale is really James Smale's tale. A coming of age story of thirty year old James. He has written a semi-autobiographical tale which has been accepted for publication. Jackie Kennedy Onassis has been assigned as his editor. Throughout his writing and re-writing of the novel, James gains a better understanding of himself, of his family history, of his relationship with his partner, and especially of his mother. It is often Ms.Onassis' input that is the impetus for his growth. At the heart, this is a novel of the complicated yet unconditional love between a mother and son. I would not like to give any spoilers. This reader stayed up late in to the night to finish it and then was sad that she had come to its end. All of the characters are written so believably that one wonders if Mr. Rowley might also have written a semi-autobiographical novel.Even the tertiary characters are nicely fleshed out and consistent throughout. I highly recommend this thought-provoking, heart-warming and original story. When you read as many books as I do, it is refreshing to discover something so completely original yet written so exquisitely .

The book is surprising and innovative. I liked it a lot and read it pretty fast. It is about an author, his book and mother-son bonds. I liked the scenario (New York in the 90s) and the process of publishing the book. The plot is about James and his book which is going to be published and edited by Jackie Kennedy. She encourages him to find a resolution to his novel. Looking for it James will be confronted with his family, his own mother and secrets are revealed.

I absolutely loved this book. It was so enjoyable, happy parts, sad bits, all of it. I laughed, I cried, I laughed while I cried. It was perfect.

This is the first book I’ve read by this author - I was very excited to read this book. And I am happy to say I was not disappointed! It was a interesting read and a great story!

Sometimes a book simply cannot not live up to its intriguing premise; this one does. How could one not be interested in imagining Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as one’s editor? Rowley presents us with this delicious theme and delivers in spades. Artfully weaving in the author’s novel to be published with his account of working with Mrs. Onassis, Rowley deftly explores the contrasts and shared traits of Mrs. Onassis and the author’s mother, the subject of his novel. The descriptions of the author’s anxious thoughts and responses upon meeting and getting to know Mrs. Onassis are absolutely precious; the reader can certainly imagine his/her similar responses in this situation. Through it all, the author learns about himself and is aided in this by the counterpoint of his loving partner and his family. Rowley is witty and compassionate, thoughtful and surprising. His book is thoroughly enjoyable with its thought-provoking themes and flashes of humor, and it raises many fascinating questions in its encounters. What an interesting read; I will be thinking about this book for quite some time.

Charming ~ Literary ~ Poignant ~ Inventive ~ Surprising tl;dr: It's never too late to be an instant success. As anyone who has read Lily and the Octopus knows, Rowley is a wonderful writer. His voice is clear and appealing. This book has the same sort of appealing solidity as Lily, but the tenor is quite different. I admit I was excited about book about books, as a writer. And, certainly this book has elements of the publishing world (1990s). There is also a famous person, in this case, Jackie Onassis. It was certainly refreshing to see a famous woman's intellect being allowed to shine. But, the best part of this book is the description of the working friendship between the MC (James) and Jackie. So many books end up being about romantic love, and of course they are fine. But, the ways that we engage with our fellow humans are work and ideas are not as common in books. Rowley does a great job showing the relationship between James and Jackie that I felt I was there. Really fabulous book.

James Smale wrote a book and heads to meet his editor. Lo and behold it is none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They form a close relationship while bringing his book to production. I love reading this side of Mrs. Onassis. It was a side I knew nothing about. This book is well written, thought provoking and a very good read! Thank you to First To Read for my advanced copy.

I actually squealed when I first read the synopsis for this one. I thought it was such a clever idea for a historical fiction book and I was really impressed with the author's ability to think a little outside the box. Instead of having a story revolve around Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her time as First Lady, this book features a writer who receives quite the surprise when he finds out Mrs. Onassis is going to be the editor for his book. Her time working for a publishing house and the last few years of her life haven't been written about as much as some of the earlier periods of her life so I was excited to read this one. I wouldn't even say I'm a big fan of the Kennedy family, but I do find them fascinating, particularly the women, and find myself reading either historical fiction or non-fiction books about them every once in awhile. Now while this book falls into the historical fiction category it is more fiction than fact based. Essentially the author took a fact about Jackie, in this case she was an editor, and used his imagination to come up with the rest of the story. All in all, I think he did a pretty good job at depicting the former First Lady. I loved how this book took place in the publishing world in the 1990s and really enjoyed that feeling like I was getting an inside look into the process a book goes through before it is published. I was actually surprised at how much depth there was to the story as it wasn't just a simple story about a writer and his extremely famous editor. It takes awhile to head in a meaningful direction but it does eventually explore some interesting subjects including mother-son dynamics. So if the whole writing thing or even Jackie O isn't all that appealing consider checking this one out as you might still find it to be a worthwhile read. The only small criticism I have is I didn't like the plot device that was used during the Thanksgiving dinner. Yes, it set the stage for things to come but I was still disappointed. Basically I wish the author would have come up with something else in order to accomplish everything he wanted to with the rest of the story. This is just a nitpick though as overall I really enjoyed the book. Definitely recommend as a good read. Thank you to First to Read for the opportunity to read an advance digital copy!


Copy the following link