Title: The Editor

Author: Steven Rowley

Pages: 320 Pages

Publisher: The Borough Press

The Blurb

After years of struggling as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally gets his big break when his novel sells 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, loves James’s candidly autobiographical novel, about his own dysfunctional family.

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

 (AMAZON BLURB)

The Review

The Editor by Steven Rowley is the story of James Smale. After years of toiling away writing his book is about to be published. His editor is none other than Jackie Kennedy. Whilst he cannot believe his luck that he is getting to work with such an iconic person he soon learns that she has a knack of getting more from her clients. More than even James wanted to give.

Concurrent to the story of the relationship between writer and editor we see the story of James and his family and the dysfunction that has led to his creativity. The Editor marries together the two aspects of protagonists James Smale’s life and shows how one cannot really exist without the other.

For me, the most interesting part of this novel was learning about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and her career in publishing. Jackie O is such an iconic figure in history who is sometimes swallowed by the sadness that befell her during her time as First Lady that is was nice to see her as a more fuller person even if it was a fictionalised account.

The Editor by Steven Rowley is available now.

For more information regarding Steven Rowley (@mrstevenrowley) please visit www.stevenrowley.com.

For more information regarding The Borough Press (@BoroughPress) please visit www.boroughpress.co.uk.

Title: City of Girls

Author: Elizabeth Gilbert

Pages: 470 Pages

Publisher: Bloomsbury

The Blurb

The blazingly brilliant new novel from Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the international bestseller Eat Pray Love: a glittering coming-of-age epic stitched across the fabric of a lost New York.

The Review

This sumptuous tale is a lot more than the story of a debutante discovering herself. It is about the social changes in society; the development of a city; the change in time and attitudes. It is a love letter to the past and a recognition of just how magical life can be.

City of Girls is the first book in a very long time that has managed to provide the wow factor for me. The character of Vivian is shown with such unashamed honesty. We see every facet of her character – the good, the bad, and the ugly. She is an unforgettable heroine.

For me, City of Girls belongs to that rare breed of book. The one that you desperately do not want to end but cannot stop yourself from reading because you have to know what happens.

City of Girls by Elizabeth Gilbert is available now.

For more information regarding Elizabeth Gilbert (@GilbertLiz) please visit www.ElizabethGilbert.com.

For more information regarding Bloomsbury (@BloomsburyBooks) please visit www.bloomsbury.com.

Title: Bonjour Girl

Author: Isabelle Lafleche

Pages: 288 Pages

Publisher: Dundurn

The Blurb

Dating, fashion, and drama: Clementine never has a dull day at the Parsons School of Design.

When Clementine Liu arrives in New York City to study at the Parsons School of Design, she knows that she’s found her place. It isn’t long before she meets her fashionista soulmate, the loud and charismatic Jake, and Jonathan, a dreamy fashion photographer who turns her world upside down.

Between schoolwork and glitzy fashion shows, Clementine launches a blog, Bonjour Girl, and her wit, originality, and flair quickly catapult the site to cult status. Unfortunately, this comes with a price: Clementine is faced with online abuse and public humiliation. In the midst of all the drama, she finds out that a classmate is not what she seems, and Clementine has to find a way to save both her reputation and Jake’s fashion collection.

The Review

The story of Bonjour Girl was quite enjoyable. I liked the idea of a young girl hiding in plain sight in one of the busiest cities in the world which is exactly what Clementine is doing at the famous fashion institute that she is attending. Along the way she meets people who can both help and hurt her and she gets lessons in life as well as in lapels (I probably shouldn’t try to pun about fashion).

If I am honest, I found the writing style of Bonjour Girl a little stilted. I felt that Clementine harped on far too much about how hard done to she was; all the things that had happened and how she was the innocent victim in it all. Furthermore, some of her actions seemed far too saccharine at times which made her a little less believable as a character.

Bonjour Girl is a cute story but it didn’t blow me away.

Bonjour Girl by Isabelle Lafleche is available now.

For more information regarding Isabelle Lafleche (@isalafleche) please visit www.isabellelfleche.net.

For more information regarding Dundurn (@dundurnpress) please visit www.dundurn.com.

Title: Searching for Grace Kelly

Author: M. G. Callahan

Pages: 289 Pages

Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group UK

The Blurb

For a small-town girl with big dreams in 1955, there is no address more desirable than New York’s Barbizon Hotel – the place where Grace Kelly lived when she first came to the big city.

Laura is an aristocratic beauty from Connecticut who arrives with a magazine internship and dreams of becoming a writer

Dolly is a hopeless romantic working the secretarial pool and looking to be swept off her feet

Vivian is a red-headed British bombshell who yearns to make it as a singer while working nights as a cigarette girl

Perfect for fans of Mad Men, The Best of Everything and The Paris Wife, this is a novel filled to the brim with glamour, following the lives of three women as they are lured into the exhilarating, dazzling world of New York City and embark on a journey that will alter their lives for ever.

The Review

Set in the Summer of 1955, three very different girls descend on the Barbizan Hotel to try and achieve their dreams and escape the humdrum of their regular lives. These three girls, Dolly, Vivian and Laura are very different but for an unlikely friendship; a friendship that will change their lives forever over the course of one summer.

I love historical fiction, especially when it is historical fiction that I can visualise and really sink my teeth into and 1950s New York with all its fashion and glamour and promise really does manage to take my breath away.

M. G. Callahan creates a stunning version of the New York lifestyle; he mixes debutantes with society folk and with the beatnik movement in one fell swoop. He looks at the challenges that modern young women faced and how they coped in the face of difficult decisions and adversity. Searching for Grace Kelly is a stunning novel that hooks you from the first page. It is told in contrasting perspectives of the three girls and allows us to see that the grass isn’t always greener.

Searching for Grace Kelly by M. G. Callahan is available now.

For more information regarding Little, Brown Book Group UK (@LittleBrownUK) please visit www.littlebrown.co.uk.

The Best Minds of My GenerationTitle: The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats

Author: Allen Ginsberg

Pages: 496 Pages

Publisher: Grove Atlantic/Grove Press

The Blurb

In 1977, twenty years after the publication of his landmark poem “Howl,” and Jack Kerouac’s seminal book On the Road, Allen Ginsberg decided it was time to teach a course on the literary history of the Beat Generation. Through the creation of this course, which he ended up teaching five times, first at the Naropa Institute and later at Brooklyn College, Ginsberg saw an opportunity to present the history of Beat Literature in his own inimitable way. Compiled and edited by renowned Beat scholar Bill Morgan, and with an introduction by Anne Waldman, The Best Minds of My Generation presents the lectures in edited form, complete with notes, and paints a portrait of the Beats as Ginsberg knew them: friends, confidantes, literary mentors, and fellow revolutionaries.

Ginsberg was seminal to the creation of a public perception of Beat writers and knew all of the major figures personally, making him uniquely qualified to be the historian of the movement. In The Best Minds of My Generation, Ginsberg shares anecdotes of meeting Kerouac, Burroughs, and other writers for the first time, explains his own poetics, elucidates the importance of music to Beat writing, discusses visual influences and the cut-up method, and paints a portrait of a group who were leading a literary revolution. For Beat aficionados and neophytes alike, The Best Minds of My Generation is a personal yet critical look at one of the most important literary movements of the twentieth century.

The Review

I was really eager to read The Best Minds of My Generation but had been put off by an experience of reading On The Road by Jack Kerouac. This will probably shock a lot of people but I just didn’t rate it. I read it because I felt like I was supposed to have read it. But, to be perfectly honest, I just wasn’t that impressed.

Anyway, I decided to bite the bullet and go for it and just immerse myself in the world of the Beat Writers.

I kind of wish I had chosen another book to read. That probably sounds really harsh but it is because this book, The Best Minds of My Generation, is clearly for hardcore Beat enthusiasts. It is not for someone who is tentatively dipping their toes into this genre.

My recommendation would be that anyone wanting to learn about the history of this period then look elsewhere. If you already love this genre of writing then knock yourself out.

The Best Minds of My Generation – A Literary History of the Beats by Allen Ginsberg is available now.

For more information regarding Grove Atlantic (@groveatlantic) please visit www.groveatlantic.com.

2 Stars