All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Not Another Happy Ending – David Solomons

on March 24, 2014

Not AnotherNot Another Happy Ending
David Solomons
Harlequin MIRA
2014, 376p
Read from my TBR pile

Jane Lockhart has a whole pile of rejections from publishers. In fact she has them pinned up on the wall and refers to it as her Board of Pain. However she’s not giving up – although she’s exhausted most of the publishers and agents, she prints yet another copy of her manuscript and takes it to Tristesse Books, a local publisher in Glasgow. It’s owned and run by a Frenchman named Tom Duval who is famous for falling out with authors he’s published. And several that he hasn’t.

Despite what he sees is a terrible title, Tom sees potential in Jane’s manuscript and he decides to publish it. It’s exactly the sort of work he’s been looking for and he pushes her hard during edits, ripping apart her work and stitching it back together again. All of that time spent together is getting to the both of them and before the edit is done they’re blurring the lines between business and pleasure.

Jane’s book is successful for Tristesse and Jane has one more book to deliver to them to fulfill her two book contract. However – she’s blocked. She can’t decide upon the ending. Her and Tom fizzled out not long after he published her first book and now, as per Jane’s request, they don’t see each other. Tom decides that Jane’s problem is that she’s just too happy. The success of her first novel has made her much happier, which is why she cannot write. So he resolves to make all aspects of her life miserable. That way she will finish the novel and deliver Tristesse Books from the grim fate that awaits them without it. Tom needs this book – without it he will certainly lose his business and livelihood.

But maybe Tom has it wrong about what it is that’s causing Jane’s block. And maybe he’s wrong about what he needs as well.

So I’m a little bit in two minds about this book.

When I started it, I thought I was going to love it. The first 50p flew by and made me laugh. I liked Tom Duval, a Frenchman who has made his way to Glasgow and decided to stay. He’s somewhat temperamental and has a habit of making his writers cry and storm out (and that’s just the beginning). Jane has had a horrid childhood and she has poured all of that pain into her first manuscript, laughably entitled The Endless Anguish of my Father. When Tom first receives it, he pitches it into the bin and it’s only because he needs to kill something (a fly I think?) that he retrieves it and ends up reading it. He immediately knows he can publish it, although he has to fix it first. The interactions between Tom and Jane were interesting and crackled off the page. I was surprised, given the blurb, how long it took for the book to reach the part where Tom and Jane part ways and Jane is working on her second book. And that’s where it started to slide a bit for me.

Although I kind of understand Tom’s reasoning in wanting to hurry Jane along in finishing her second manuscript, because his company is in serious trouble and he needs to publish something with a successful name behind it, some of the stunts he pulled…kind of sat uncomfortably with me. I know it’s intended to be humour and Tom is kind of emotionally underdeveloped as a person but he was intending to hurt Jane quite a bit and make her really miserable. Now if this was written making Tom the publisher from hell, with zero romantic interest, I might’ve enjoyed it a lot more. But I found it quite weird that Tom was obviously in love with Jane (and she him as well) but he was intending to do these horrible things to her to make her miserable so that she might write. A couple of them were harmless and the one that would’ve done some severe, severe damage to Jane’s mental state and her very fledgling relationship with someone important to her doesn’t actually come off but the point is, Tom still tried to destroy things to her that were important.

I enjoyed the portion of the book where Jane and Tom worked together to edit her first novel: their discussions, their unorthodox ways of working together, their tipping over into sexual attraction, that all worked for me. I liked Tom during that section of the book, in all his moody French glory. I didn’t like him quite so much in the second half of the book although I did really enjoy his employee/friend Roddy. Roddy wavers between the voice of reason and willing accomplice in some of Tom’s more outlandish attempts to make Jane miserable so that she can finish her book. Some of the interactions between Tom and Roddy were quite funny and might even be the highlights of the book. Unfortunately, I found the interactions between Jane and Darsie really difficult to get into. I think that sort of thing in a book is something a reader either really loves or doesn’t get at all. I’m in the ‘don’t really get it’ camp.

So….two minds. The first part is a thumbs up but not the second part unfortunately.


Book #67 of 2014



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