THE GIRL ON THE PAGE by John Purcell (@Bookeboy) exposes the seedy underbelly of publishing while pondering the meaning of great literature. #BookReview

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THE GIRL ON THE PAGE by John Purcell

Goodreads Description

Two women, two great betrayals, one path to redemption. A punchy, powerful and page-turning novel about the redemptive power of great literature, from industry insider, John Purcell.

Amy Winston is a hard-drinking, bed-hopping, hot-shot young book editor on a downward spiral. Having made her name and fortune by turning an average thriller writer into a Lee Child, Amy is given the unenviable task of steering literary great Helen Owen back to publication.

When Amy knocks on the door of their beautiful townhouse in north-west London, Helen and her husband, the novelist Malcolm Taylor, are conducting a silent war of attrition. The townhouse was paid for with the enormous seven-figure advance Helen was given for the novel she wrote to end fifty years of making ends meet on critical acclaim alone. The novel Malcolm thinks unworthy of her. The novel Helen has yet to deliver. The novel Amy has come to collect.

Amy has never faced a challenge like this one. Helen and Malcolm are brilliant, complicated writers who unsettle Amy into asking questions of herself – questions about what she values, her principles, whether she has integrity, whether she is authentic. Before she knows it, answering these questions becomes a matter of life or death.

From ultimate book industry insider, John Purcell, comes a literary page-turner, a ferocious and fast-paced novel that cuts to the core of what it means to balance ambition and integrity, and the redemptive power of great literature.

Details

Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 24th 2018 by 4th Estate – AU
ISBN
1460756975 (ISBN13: 9781460756973)

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My Review 

“Two women, two great betrayals, one path to redemption.”

THE GIRL ON THE PAGE by Australian publishing insider, John Purcell, exposes the seedy underbelly of publishing while pondering the meaning of great literature.

Amy Winston is a hard working and hard partying young editor who made her career launch off the ground by taking an average thriller writer and turning him into a household name. She is given the unenviable task of doing the same for literary giant, Helen Owen.

Helen and her husband, Malcolm Taylor, have been at odds with each other ever since Helen undertook the huge signing bonus to write the novel Amy has been told to edit into the commercial success of the year and moved them out of the tiny flat they had shared and written literary fiction in, even sharing an office, for more than 50 years.

When Amy walks into this complicated situation and agrees to stay at Helen and Malcolm’s flat until the novel is completed she bites off far more than she bargained for and is left to question her career, her principles, and what is the meaning of great literature.

THE GIRL ON THE PAGE was far more deep and meaningful than I expected from all of the buzz surrounding it. I’ve seen/heard a lot of comparisons to the television series “YOUNGER” and while they are similar in how they take us behind the scenes of the publishing industry, I don’t think that comparison really does “THE GIRL ON THE PAGE” justice. There were plenty of gritty sex scenes and a fascinating insider’s view of the publishing industry. John Purcell’s industry insider credentials are very strong, as he is the current Director of Books at Booktopia and owned his own bookshop for many years. I particularly loved the inside joke of the title of both this novel and the fictional “GIRL ON GIRL” novel. It does seem as though every second popular book at the moment has either “girl” or “woman” in the title!

“THE GIRL ON THE PAGE” is far more gritty, fast-paced, and shocking than “YOUNGER”. It will certainly cause you to ask yourself what does great literature mean to you? I particularly loved the final pages where Malcolm discusses what great literature means to him, and couldn’t agree more with his use of Jane Austen’s “EMMA” as an example of great literature.

5 stars!

About the Author

 

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John Purcell, photo credit  Sarah Louise Kinsella

 

While still in his twenties, John Purcell opened a second-hand bookshop in Mosman, Sydney, in which he sat for ten years reading, ranting and writing.

Since then he has written, under a pseudonym, a series of very successful novels, interviewed hundreds of writers about their work, appeared at writers’ festivals, on TV (most bizarrely in comedian Luke McGregor’s documentary Luke Warm Sex) and has been featured in prominent newspapers and magazines.

​Now, as the Director of Books at booktopia.com.au, Australia’s largest online bookseller, he supports Australian writing in all its forms. He lives in Sydney with his wife, two children, three dogs, five cats, unnumbered gold fish and his overlarge book collection.

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Review: Best Seller by Terry Tyler

Short, sweet, and full of twists! bestseller.jpg

Best Seller is about three women who are striving to become bestselling authors. They are all part of the online writer’s group, the North Norfolk Novelists.

Jan is factory worker with serious money issues thanks to her ex who ran up massive credit card debts and left her high and dry. She needs her novels to be successful but doesn’t have the money to spend on editing, proof-reading, or cover design and this hurts her book sales.

Becky is happy with the moderate success of her novels, although of course she would love to write a bestseller one day.

Eden is already a huge success with a lucrative publishing deal at 23 thanks to her shady father’s money and connections.

I don’t want to give too much of the plot away because it is packed with plot twists, but I absolutely loved Best Seller. It provides an interesting glimpse inside the realities of being an author and just how difficult it can be to gain success and recognition. Thank you, Terry, for another brilliant read!

Description

Three women, one dream: to become a successful author.

Eden Taylor has made it—big time. A twenty-three year old with model girl looks and a book deal with a major publisher, she’s outselling the established names in her field and is fast becoming the darling of the media.

Becky Hunter has money problems. Can she earn enough from her light-hearted romance novels to counteract boyfriend Alex’s extravagant spending habits, before their rocky world collapses?

Hard up factory worker Jan Chilver sees writing as an escape from her troubled, lonely life. She is offered a lifeline—but fails to read the small print…

In the competitive world of publishing, success can be merely a matter of who you know—and how ruthless you are prepared to be to get to the top.

BEST SELLER is a novella of 40k words (roughly half as long as an average length novel), a slightly dark, slightly edgy drama with a twist or three in the tale.

Details

Title: Best Seller

Author: Terry Tyler

Published:  March 14th 2016

AISN: B01CXA2K8E

Genre: Literary Fiction, Suspense

Pages: 155

Source: Review copy from author

My Rating: 5/5 stars

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Review: Missing, Presumed by Susie Steiner

Beautifully written crime thriller missing

When Edith Hind suddenly disappears the police immediately treat her case as high priority. Her father, Sir Ian Hind, is a prestigious doctor with connections to the royal family and politicians so they don’t want to stuff this one up. Missing, Presumed is told from the perspectives of Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw, Edith’s mother, Detective Constable Davy Walker and Edith’s best friend, Helena.  Through the multiple points of view, we are able to see the effect a missing person case has on everyone involved, both the police investigating and the family and friends who are going out of their minds with worry.

I really enjoyed reading this novel from the multiple points of view. This allowed far greater character development than you normally find in crime thrillers. Steiner did a brilliant job of bringing each character to life and I enjoyed finding out more about each character by reading about them through the eyes of the other people they interact with.

This novel is also beautifully written. It is a bit of slow-boil thriller, but it is definitely worth the wait because by the time I got to the twists and final reveal I felt like I was reading about people I knew intimately. Add this one to your TBR list if you like crime thrillers with the depth and observation of literary fiction.

Description

Edith Hind, the beautiful, earnest Cambridge post-grad living on the outskirts of the city has left nothing behind but a streak of blood and her coat hanging up for her boyfriend, Will, to find. The news spreads fast: to her parents, prestigious doctor Sir Ian and Lady Hind, and straight on to the police. And then the hours start to dissolve and reality sets in.

Detective Sergeant Manon Bradshaw soothes her insomnia with the din of the police radio she keeps by her bed. After another bad date, it takes the crackling voices to lull her to sleep. But one night she hears something. Something deserving of her attention. A girl is missing. For Manon the hunt for Edith Hind might be the career-defining case she has been waiting for. For the family this is the beginning of their nightmare.

As Manon sinks her teeth into the investigation and lines up those closest to Edith she starts to feel out the kinks in their stories and catch the eyes that won’t meet hers. But when disturbing facts come to light, the stakes jolt up and Manon has to manage the wave of terror that erupts from the family.

A stunning literary thriller that shows the emotional fallout from the anxious search for a young woman and lets you inside the mind of the detective hell-bent on finding her.

Details

Title: Missing, Presumed

Author: Susie Steiner

Published: 1 March 2016 by HarperCollins Publishers Australia

ISBN: 9780008123284

Genre: Crime, Thriller, Mystery, Literary Fiction

Pages: 400

Source: Review copy from HarperCollins Publishers Australia

My Rating: 4/5 Stars

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Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout

Emotional, raw, and unapologetically realistic. It’s no wonder Olive Kitteridge won the Pulitzer Prize.

Olive Kitteridge is a former math teacher with a tough and bristly exterior. Like most people who come across this way, Olive has her own demons to battle in private and an incredible understanding of human nature. olive

Each chapter tells a separate story involving people who live in Olive’s hometown, Crosby Maine. Sometimes Olive plays a central role, other times she is just hovering somewhere on the periphery. Each chapter weaves together to tell an incredible story of love, life, death, and the human condition.

I absolutely loved this book. I found myself identifying so many times with Olive. Her insights into human nature and life were incredibly profound at times. Even though she comes across as such a tough cookie, I feel as though she could very well be a creative free spirit trapped in a mundane and disappointing world.

It took me quite a few days to read Olive Kitteridge. I needed to stop and let each chapter sink in before I was able to move onto the next one. If you decide to check it out, be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster.

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Even my cat loved Olive Kitteridge!

Best Quotes:

“You couldn’t make yourself stop feeling a certain way, no matter what the other person did. You had to just wait. Eventually the feeling went away because others came along. Or sometimes it didn’t go away but got squeezed into something tiny, and hung like a piece of tinsel in the back of your mind.”

“Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it.”

“She didn’t like to be alone. Even more, she didn’t like being with people.”

“Olive’s private view is that life depends on what she thinks of as “big bursts” and “little bursts.” Big bursts are things like marriage or children, intimacies that keep you afloat, but these big bursts hold dangerous, unseen currents. Which is why you need the little bursts as well: a friendly clerk at Bradlee’s, let’s say, or the waitress at Dunkin’ Donuts who knows how you like your coffee. Tricky business, really.”

“Traits don’t change, states of mind do.”
“Don’t be scared of your hunger. If you’re scared of your hunger, you’ll just be one more ninny like everyone else.”
Description:
At times stern, at other times patient, at times perceptive, at other times in sad denial, Olive Kitteridge, a retired schoolteacher, deplores the changes in her little town of Crosby, Maine, and in the world at large, but she doesn’t always recognize the changes in those around her: a lounge musician haunted by a past romance; a former student who has lost the will to live; Olive’s own adult child, who feels tyrannized by her irrational sensitivities; and her husband, Henry, who finds his loyalty to his marriage both a blessing and a curse.

As the townspeople grapple with their problems, mild and dire, Olive is brought to a deeper understanding of herself and her life–sometimes painfully, but always with ruthless honesty. Olive Kitteridge offers profound insights into the human condition–its conflicts, its tragedies and joys, and the endurance it requires.

Details:
ISBN: 140006208X (ISBN13: 9781400062089)
Published:  March 25th 2008 by Random House (first published September 30th 2007)
Genre: Literary Fiction, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 270
Source: I bought my copy
My Rating: 5/5 stars