I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Review: Pursuing the Times

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Pursuing the Times
by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Plot Summary:

All that popular Chick-Lit author Mercury Lauren wants is to have one of her books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review - just one - and she'll do almost anything to get it. In this contemporary romantic comedy, with a nod toward Pride and Prejudice she crosses swords and hearts with the Editor-in-Chief of the NYTBR in a madcap adventure that takes her from her home in Westport to a yoga retreat to a golf course in Florida. Will she get what she wants and will she finally be happy if she does? Only one thing's for certain: nothing will stop her from Pursuing the Times.

A note:

I've previously reviewed The Twin's Daughter by Lauren Baratz-Logsted and found it a fantastic and entertaining suspense YA read, and I was very interested in reading this Chick-Lit-y revision of Pride and Prejudice.


Mercury Lauren's neurotic need to get notice and recognition for her work despite commercial success drives the action in this novel.  Her antics become madcap and screwball, walking a thin line between funny and annoyingly offbeat.  But even while I sometimes wished she would act more rationally, I sympathized with her and her single-minded goal.  Especially because she seemed to have such an unsympathetic family.  But I loved this novel's reflective nature on the chick-lit genre and how Mercury's motivations were more complicated than her seemingly all important goal to get a review in the Times.

I loved quietly realizing the parallels between Pride and Prejudice and this story - the character and plot similarities and how the author reinvents them into a contemporary story.  Mercury is not nearly as level-headed as Elizabeth Bennett but she does have a sarcastic, if self-deprecating, wit, and Frank D'Arcangelo is just as intellectually devastating as Darcy, but shows a little more warmth early on and it is easier to tell that he likes Mercury's directness and challenging views.  And in addition to the romance and the comedy, the author works in interesting and thought-provoking commentary on the plight of authors and reviewers, the contradictory attitudes and unrealistic expectations put on commercial and literary authors, with some great insights on being an author.  All of this is wrapped up beautifully by a scene in a bookstore where Mercury encounters a rude and disgruntled reader - I don't want to spoil the scene, but I loved how it tied up the ideas behind this novel and the romance.

Although I wanted to shake some sense into the characters at times, this is a really fun read, and I can see authors and bloggers learning from Mercury's adventures, as well as any reader enjoying the romantic tension between Mercury and Frank.

review copy kindly provided by the author

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