One of the best parts of being an author is knowing, and in some cases being friends with, the people who are actually writing books that are being published. I would also say that one of the strangest things about being an author is knowing, and sometimes being friends with, the people who are actually writing books that are being published.
I can go crazy trying to decide which books to read. While I make it a point to read my closest author-friend’s books, I can’t read every book of every author I’ve connected with or even know in real life. I do buy most of the books, and share the information I know, and add each one to my growing TBR list and pile.
But when your friend sends you an ARC (Advance Reading Copy, sometimes known as a Galley), and you know you’re going to feature her on Women’s Fiction Writers on her launch day (August 7th) — you cross your fingers while you crack the spine and simply pray you like it.
And my prayers were answered when I read WHAT MORE COULD YOU WISH FOR by Samantha Hoffman — fellow Chicagoan, St. Martin’s author, and Brenda Copeland-ite.
I met Samantha Hoffman because we share a publisher and an editor and then learned also share a love of Chicago, good wine, and good food (do not take these similarities for granted). And lucky for me – and everyone else – these are some of the things showcased in her soon-to-be-released novel. And while I’m not in the habit of reviewing books per se, I just couldn’t wait to type the praises of Samantha’s book.
I didn’t know what to expect. When I get a book – and I apologize to everyone who has ever written jacket or backcover copy (eh hem, me, and my editor, last week, eh hem) I rarely read it. I pick up a book or I download the sample and I dive in. I usually have no clue what it’s about and have taken the word of a friend or been lured by delicate, whimsical or striking cover art. Crafy titles can grab me as well. And WMCYWF has it all.
I’d say that Sam’s book falls neatly into a category I made up myself. (Ah, the wonders of having your own blog, y’know?) It’s women’s fiction with heart, soul, and a romantic tint. Romantic? Absolutely. More than a romance? Absolutely! Get ready for eloquent turns of phrase. Well-crafted insights. Laugher. Tears. Resolution. Wonder. I related to and adored Libby Carson, the main character, even though she spends a modicum of time and energy choosing between two men. Sometimes that would make me roll my eyes. Ok, most of the time. But Samantha tells this intricate love story with such deference to the realities of Libby’s life — which isn’t all fabulous — that I was empathetic toward Libby immediately, and felt she was very relatable.
Before I read the book I told Sam I thought the cover represented an important birthday – I had read Sam’s back cover and knew that her protagonist, Libby, turned 50 at the beginning of the story. Halle-freaking-luyah! Nothing against the 30-something or even the 40-something crowds but being closer to 50 than I am to any age other than 49, I do enjoy a book about someone who is already checking off a new box on surveys and getting obviously misdirected AARP mail – as am I.
I don’t read a book based on any age-bias – but this just made the book different from many I’ve read. And just as I relate wholely to many books with protags of all ages, you needn’t be anywhere near 50 — above or below — to enjoy this book.
And when I finished the book (in less than two days) I knew exactly what the cover meant. It meant that Libby’s life was overloaded. That she was overwhelmed. Thinking too much. Doing too much. And just like a cupcake loaded with burning candles – if something isn’t done about that soon, whether it’s blowing them out and eating the cupcake or dousing the whole thing and throwing it into the garbage (what a waste) – there needs to be action or there is going to be a big metaphorical fire.
Hmmm. Feel the tension? Me too!!
And, how many of us haven’t felt overwhelmed or overcooked or under appreciated?
WHAT MORE COULD YOU WISH FOR is the perfect book to take on a trip (take Kleenex too) because 1) time will fly and 2) you’ll accomplish reading the whole thing, and 3) it’s a feel-good book. It’s also a smart book with a protagonist making difficult choices in both common and uncommon situations – and I’m partial to books like that because they make me think. What would I do?
When I finished the book I pre-ordered three copies to give as gifts – and because I’ll see Samantha, I’ll have them signed. Another perk of having author friends, indeed.
I’m only sorry you have to wait until August 7th to read WMCYWF but Samantha will be back to talk about her experience writing her novel and having it published (wait until you hear that story!) and talk about (or maybe even show us) the sights around Chicago featured in her book. For me, that may include walking shoes and a cab ride or two – for you, that is sure to include amazing insights and fun and more about Samantha Hoffman’s book.
Truly, what more could you wish for?
To learn more about Sam and her book, check out her website by clicking here.