I read an amazingly ready-for-publication Advanced Reader Copy with the title How Not To Be A Loser. The novel opens with the protagonist giving a tongue-in-cheek description of what her life has become, capped by an amusing incident where she can't cast aspersions on her son's fear of spiders when she can't even look outside an open door. The author does an excellent job of giving hints of what has happened in the past - information that trickles out in bits as the story goes on. She does the same with what is to come, and it's not quite certain until the end just how things will turn out. A thoroughly enjoyable read with many light moments, while drawing the reader into the world of someone with agoraphobia.
- Feb 16, 2020
- 2 min read
Updated: Dec 14, 2020
A delightfully well-written family saga/romance/women's novel with two blended story lines: Nana Elaine's passionate wartime (WWII) romance with a famous photographer and the contemporary life of her granddaughter - a woman whose husband has left her for a younger woman at the outset. While there are definitely romances in both lives, the book is more than that. It is a powerful description of the women who stepped up during the war and were then sent home once it was over, and while her grand romance is key, Elaine's story entails much more. Her granddaughter recognizes parallels between them and must decide what choices to make for her own life.
An excellent book for writers to read:
Historical Fiction: Page doesn't bury the reader in her research. Instead she selects details that are pertinent to her characters' lives. For example, the dichotomy between the general scarcity of food and that available to the wealthy shows up as Elaine goes between scraping together bits at home and eating out with her lover.
Women's Fiction: This book is categorized as family saga because it embraces the generations. That is valid, but I'd also place it firmly in women's fiction because Page's characters are realistic women facing universal situations. While Elaine's romance may be the high point of her life, there is so much more about her journey included in this story. While her granddaughter, Jen, is not privy to all of the details we as readers have, the outline of Elaine's story and her direction hints at decisions she made. Recognizing parallels between them, Jen has to make her own life-determining decisions.
Romance: The core of Elaine's story is her grand romance and Jen is dealing with a philandering husband, a possible romantic interest, and decisions to be made. These are nicely handled. If your goal is to write romance that goes above and beyond, this is an example to read.