Nora Ephron would be pleased: What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin Book Review

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What Nora Knew

By: Linda Yellin

Released January 21, 2014 by Gallery Books

Length: 336 Pages

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Rating: Four Stars

Acquired: via netgalley

 

One Assignment to write about love, channeling Nora Ephron. One cynic journalist. One love-enthused crime writer who kills all his main character’s girlfriends.  One story Nora Ephron would give her stamp of approval

 

Molly Hallberg is a thirty-nine year old cynic, but don’t tell her that. Divorced from a high powered divorce lawyer, Molly knows she hasn’t found “the one”. Instead, she is dating Russel, the chiropractor. Russell is stable, a pragmatist, and lacks romance. Molly feels settled. When she is assigned to write about soul mates in the tone of Nora Ephron, Molly knows she is the last person who should be assigned the article; and the truth is, she was the last choice. When she tries to create a romantic dinner for Russell, it fizzles. They settle into each other, both knowing neither are the romantic types, but that’s OK.

Cue You’ve Got Mail. During Memorial Day weekend at the Hamptons, Molly meets her match in fellow writer Cameron Duncan. A famous crime writer, Cameron kills off every girlfriend in his Mike Bing novels; while still managing to make every woman reader swoon. Molly doesn’t believe he’s sincere as he says Sleepless in Seattle his one of his favorite films. Like Joe Fox, Cameron Duncan starts to appear everywhere, infuriating Molly; but slowly waking her up in the perfect Nora Ephron way. 

Does the article turn out great? Does she even write it? Well, you’ll just have to read the book because there may be some predictable surprises. I could definitely see this book being adapted to film. It’s a great homage to Nora Ephron, but it’s the characters that are so great. Molly is so much like Kathleen from You’ve Got Mail. The cynicism is spot on. The references to the movies. The way the plot moves; even the slight character growth. I read this book surprisingly in one day. I laughed a lot. And, I admit, cried at two spots. Cameron Duncan was a great character. And, so was Dr. Russell. How boring and simple. There is a scene in the book, a realization between Molly and Russell that I think many couples who have felt stagnant in their relationship can relate to. It is a very relatable book that truly reads like a romantic comedy movie. I will see it in theaters if it gets adapted into film. I hope it does. It would be a pity if it didn’t. The material is all there.

If you are a fan of romantic comedies; or, looking for a light, fun read this book is it. Spring is near. Summer, too. It’d be a great beach read. Yellin really nails the romance aspect. What it’s like to feel stuck in a relationship, in life. To meet that one person who drives you crazy.  To be closed then open. I hope you give this book a once over. It’s worth a read. 

Edgar Allan Poe was a romantic: Mrs. Poe by Lynn Cullen Book Review

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Mrs. Poe

By Lynn Cullen

To be released October 1st, 2013 by Gallery Books (imprint of Simon and Schuester)

336 Pages

Genre: Historical Fiction

Acquired by Netgalley

Rating: Four and a half stars

A writer and his demons. A woman and her desires. A wife and her revenge . . . 

Where Winter in New York City is desolate, freezing, and unwelcoming becomes center stage for this thrilling historical fiction novel about struggling poet Frances Osgood and Edgar Allan Poe. From the winter of 1845, when they first met, Cullen masterfully describes their relationship until Winter 1847.

It’s 1845, Mr. Poe’s The Raven has just been published to wide acclaim. Struggling poet Frances Osgood gets yet another rejection, and told by her publisher to write like Mr. Poe- terrifying stories for women. Frances Osgood wasn’t a fan. Dejected, she found nothing special about The Raven and, more so, the author himself. Yet, after a chance meeting at a literary conversazione, a spark is ignited. Frances Osgood wasn’t supposed to fall in love with Mr. Poe. She was married to a philandering husband where he was, unbeknownst to her,  living the life of a half way struggling artist with a divorcee in Cincinnati, Ohio. Poe, himself was married to his first cousin half his age. In the span of two years, the reader experiences the relationship alongside the ill-fated matched. Both married, their love could never be. It was one spouse in particular that is in the way, Mrs. Virginia Poe. Mrs. Poe takes a liking to Mrs. Osgood that leads to a more complicated relationship than either three were prepared for. Add in a somewhat crazy mom in law, and a simple romance takes a terrifying turn. And, that turn, you’ll only find out if you read this electrifying novel.

I never pictured Poe as a romantic. His stories are the poster children of macabre literature, and in general. There is darkness, death, pain. Yet, here he is, a romantic. Cullen includes poems the lovers sent to each other through his journal Tribune. I expected Osgood to be a romantic poet, considering her main subjects were always flowers that represent femininity, but Mr. sullen, dark Poe, never. The poems are beautiful. The love real.

Lynn Cullen does an excellent on depicting this love story, especially with Edgar Allan Poe. Mrs. Poe was a good character, but in the end there is one character who takes the cake. I was excited by this story after finishing two books I didn’t like very much. I loved this novel. It was fascinating, hearing Frances voice and the enfolding of her affair. I did not expect the thrill of an end; thus making me very satisfied.

The story reads like a story on its own, but then you remember it is heavily based on extensive research, making all that much satisfying and enjoyable. As much as I admired Poe’s work, I feel like we are on intimate terms. As Mrs. Poe calls him, Eddie. And, Frances Osgood is a great female “character” and person that I would have liked to meet. Through the whole novel she was strong, resilient, and a force to be reckoned with. How much really would one not do for real love?  I would highly recommend this book, even if you aren’t familiar with either or both writers. I also feel this novel is just for people fans of historical fiction; nor just for people wanting to read a love story. There are so many dimensions to this novel that I think many people would find enjoyable.

 

 

 

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