Saturday, October 11, 2014

"Best Seller" by Martha Reynolds

Best Seller
by Martha Reynolds

Best Seller is currently on tour with Masquerade Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

Set in New England at the time of the American Bicentennial, Best Seller is the poignant story of a displaced young woman struggling to figure out who she is within the context of her hometown and the carefully masked dysfunction of her family.
"Everything can be fixed by writing a check." Words to live by for Robin Fortune's wealthy father, until he can't buy her way back into college after she's expelled for dealing pot. Now he chooses not to speak to her anymore, but that's just one of the out-of-whack situations Robin's facing.
At nineteen, she feels rudderless, working in a diner by day and sleeping with a buddy from high school by night - all so strange for her because she was always the one with the plan. While her college friends plotted how to ensnare husbands, she plotted a novel, which she scratched out into a series of spiral-bound notebooks she hides in the closet.
But now, there's nothing. No vision, no future, no point. In fact, the only thing she feels she has to look forward to is that her favorite author, Maryana Capture, is paying a visit to the local Thousand Words bookstore. Robin surmises that if she can convince Maryana to help her get her novel published, she'll finally get herself back on track.
Except that life never takes a straight path in this intensely satisfying coming-of-age novel.

Bicentennial Parade

My father stopped speaking to me the day I was expelled from college, and a few weeks before he paid my fine to the court. That was a month ago. One day after my appearance in front of the judge, I moved into my apartment, in a house he owns. I pay rent to the property management company he also owns. So I’m not really independent. Not yet, anyway.
I flip my calendar to July before June even ends. I can’t wait to circle three dates with my red magic marker. On the Fourth of July there’ll be a giant bicentennial parade in town and fireworks over the harbor. Plus, I don’t have to work. One red circle. Three days later, my twentieth birthday. Probably no family celebration this year, though. Another red circle. Used to be, you couldn’t drink until you turned twenty-one, but they changed that law when I was seventeen. The year before that, they changed the law so I could vote when I turned eighteen. Turning twenty? No big deal.
I draw two red circles around Friday the twenty-third, because that’s the day Maryana Capture will make an appearance at the Thousand Words bookstore. She’s my absolute favorite author of all time. I’ve read all of her books and can’t believe she’s going to make a stop here. Well, one town over. Her newest book came out a couple of years ago, and I read it right away. I guess she’s been traveling all around the country and will finally end up here.

Featured Review
It’s the mid-nineteen seventies and nineteen-year-old Robin’s life has become somewhat derailed. She’s been chucked out of college for dealing pot, her dad’s not speaking to her, she lives alone, works in a local diner, and is sleeping with an old friend from high school. This was not the plan. Things start to look up when her favorite author, Maryana Capture, comes to town. If Maryana helped her publish her novel, maybe Robin’s life would get back on track.
I read this story in two huge self-indulgent dollops. Robin would not let me put this book down. Despite many decades separating us, I could immediately relate to her, and as the story unfolded, I began to feel very protective of her.
Robin’s voice draws the reader in, and much of the dialogue is interspersed with her witty or heartfelt asides. The author perfectly captures the feelings of a young woman who is little lost, unsure of the way ahead, lonely, and very naïve.
The story is driven forward by Robin’s complex relationships with her family, her boyfriend, her upstairs neighbor, and the people she meets at work. These supporting characters are as vivid as Robin. The two that interest me the most are her mother and her boyfriend, and I’d love to see them developed further in another book.
The mid-seventies setting feels authentic, and Robin’s musings about how much easier life would be if she had a portable phone are a wonderful touch.
A satisfying read for anyone who came of age a while ago, and for those who have yet to do so.

1976 Olivetti Typewriter

About the Author
Martha Reynolds ended an accomplished career as a fraud investigator and began writing full time in 2011. She is the author of five novels, including the award-winning Chocolate for Breakfast (her debut novel), Chocolate Fondue, Bittersweet Chocolate, and the Amazon #1 bestseller Bits of Broken Glass. Best Seller is her latest release. Her essays have appeared in Magnificat magazine.
She and her husband live in Rhode Island, never far from the ocean.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 gift card.