Friday, October 27, 2023

Book Review: The Fiction Writer

The once-rising literary star Olivia Fitzgerald is down on her luck. Her most recent novel, a retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, was a flop, her boyfriend of nine years just dumped her and she’s battling a bad case of writer’s block. So when her agent calls her with a high-paying ghostwriting opportunity, Olivia is all too willing to sign the NDA.

At first, the job seems too good to be true. All she has to do is interview Henry “Ash” Asherwood, a reclusive mega billionaire, twice named People’s Sexiest Man Alive, who wants her help in writing a book that reveals a shocking secret about his late grandmother and Daphne du Maurier. But nothing is as it seems. The more Olivia delves into the past the more questions she has. Before she knows it, she’s trapped in a gothic mystery of her own.

The Fiction Writer, the latest novel by Jillian Cantor, will be published on November 28, 2023. Park Row, an imprint of Harlequin Trade Publishing, provided an early galley for review.

The cover and the title were initially what grabbed my attention. As someone who moderates our library's writing group, stories with protagonists who are writers can be a real draw. Admittedly, I've never read du Maurier's 1938 novel Rebecca so some of the references and parallels might be lost on me. Still, Cantor does a good job filling the novice reader on important details.

The character of Olivia was immediately recognizable as she exhibits traits I've seen over the years in other writers (myself included). As someone who reads book reviews as part of my librarian job, the references that Olivia makes regarding the publishing industry rang very true as well.

The story quickly spiraled into a gothic romance space, a genre that is not my usual norm. Olivia starts making questionable choices, ignoring red-flags due to her being drawn in by Ash's looks, charms and wealth. I could not relate.

No comments: