The Editor by Steven Rowley
Published by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Released April 2, 2019
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I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
When I received an ARC of this novel and read the synopsis, I wasn’t sure if I was going to enjoy it. While I do love historical fiction, this book is focused around a fictional account of an author working with an esteemed editor, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. I usually don’t like novels that rely on celebrities for the plot, and a good portion of this novel is the main character, James Smale, fanboying over working with a Kennedy.
I was pleasantly surprised, however, as I worked my way through the book. The portrayal of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, who really was an editor at the end of her life, was very well done and believable. While Smale’s obsession with working alongside her was annoying at times, it took the backseat to the real story of the novel, which was Smales’s crumbling relationship with his mother.
James has a really rough relationship with his mother, and the book he working on is making that divide grow even wider. Jackie encourages James to fix the ending to his novel, and to do this James decides to try to smooth things over with his mother. The family dynamics are really fascinating and make the story very engaging.
At times this novel was slow-moving and I had to find ways to keep myself interested in it. Overall though, I’m glad to have read it. I appreciate the research that Rowley put into developing the character of Jackie Kennedy Onassis as well as the feel of 1990s New York.
As a last little side note, this book made me feel old. It’s hard to believe the 1990s are now so far in the past as to be considered historical fiction. It really doesn’t feel like that long ago. Am I the only person that feels this way?
I’ve heard really amazing things about Rowley’s previous novel, Lily and the Octopus, and based on my pleasant experience with The Editor, I’m definitely adding it to my TBR pile.