Since I'm a fan of Jane Kirkpatrick's historical fiction, I wasn't sure what to expect from this contemporary. I loved it. Ms. Kirkpatrick is stretching her creative wings and sharing a new type of story with her readers. It takes some courage for a writer to do so, and I applaud her for it.
Protagonist Annie is a novelist who finds herself struggling to meet the standards and sales that are expected by her publisher. She and her friends hatch a plan to gain attention for her latest titles by gaining the attention of Oprah Winfrey. Woven against this professional plotline is Annie's search for personal fulfillment. Did she make a mistake when she walked away from a man she met during a vacation in Barcelona? What will actually make her happy?
The attempts to penetrate Oprah's inner circle are zany fun. However, this is a multi-layered novel with surprising depth. Annie's struggles to find her true purpose in life, and to identify what and who she values most highly, are poignant and finely detailed. The ending is unexpected but deeply satisfying.
In addition, this smooth-reading novel's construction is complex. The story moves forward through first-person narrative, brief excerpts from Annie's latest and somewhat autobiographical novel, and correspondence from her editor and from readers. And the writing itself is studded with wonderful gems. Early on, for example, Annie tells her friends, "I do need to celebrate this little stage along my publishing waterslide."
Anyone who enjoys books will appreciate this peek into the publishing world.
Next time you're looking for an entertaining story with a lot of heart, I recommend "Barcelona Calling."
Thank you Kathleen!
Wishing many positive messages for each of you as we begin this new year. In fact, if you'd care to share a few positive things that have already happened to you in 2012, I'd be happy to read your comments and be cheered by them.