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Thursday, October 11, 2012


Remember that sale on Shannon Hale ebooks and I finally picked up MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND? Around the same time Deseret Book had a big sale on lots of books too and I got free shipping, so THE ACTOR AND THE HOUSEWIFE finally arrived at my house after months and months of being on my TBR list.

From Shannon Hale's websiteMormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity heartthrob Felix Callahan. A few hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened, though nothing has happened...it isn't sexual. It isn't even quite love. But soon Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what's hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends--talk-on-the-phone, drop-everything-in-an-emergency, laugh-out-loud-at-stupid-jokes best friends. 

Becky's loving and devoted husband, Mike, is mostly unconcerned. Her children roll their eyes. Her large extended family and neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special... something unusual, something that seems from the outside--and sometimes from the inside too--completely impossible to sustain.

On the surface, Becky's story of a steadfast housewife and the handsome star is the ultimate romantic fantasy. But the depth of emotion that Shannon Hale shows us in Becky is the strength that underpins only the strongest relationships. It is what makes this story resonate beyond the glitter of Felix's movie-stardom to the deeper understanding of the kinds of true love we all dream of having.

Shannon Hale has created a magical and often hilarious story that explores what might happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life, and changes everything. 

Audience: Adult (clean)
Genre: LDS, comedy, literary
Length: 339

The Rating: **** (Really liked it)

The Good: I actually, sincerely struggled with what to rate this book. Quite honestly, it's not one of my favorite Shannon Hale books -- I definitely like AUSTENLAND better -- but this is a very different Shannon Hale book from AUSTENLAND and MIDNIGHT IN AUSTENLAND. I really enjoyed it, but didn't love it. It touched me profoundly but I don't know if I'll ever read it again ... Clear as mud!

This is one of the only literary, LDS novels I've ever read. Perhaps I'm wrong in calling it literary, but the absolutely character-driven plot makes me really want to stick it there. Becky Jack deals with some serious issues and I really like that they're not handled in happy-ever-after ways all the time. (That said, thank heavens for the ending, THANK HEAVENS!) And I'm a happily-ever-afterer. You guys know me. But they are still handled well and with characteristic Shannon Hale wit.

I think I connected with Becky Jack more than I've connected with any other fictional character, I kid you not. She and I feel exactly the same way about the other seasons: "Not Summer." Yet, I would not have made any of the decisions Becky did throughout this book. It makes sense, as a book. It really does. I don't know what else to say about it.

The Bad: It's a bit heavy for me, but I am more of a light-weight when it comes to reading. (Which is a hilarious critique to make considering this really is a comedy! Ha!)

He Said/She Said:
He: "Sometimes you need the mountain air and a few million Mormons to perk up your spirits."
And I just love this glimpse into Becky's character: " ... there were many nights when she lay staring at Mike's sleeping face and whispering prayers in heart ..." (I just. Yes. I know this.)

Disclaimer: Some innuendo (but it's actually hilarious and usually cute and usually between Becky and her husband Mike), some mild (very mild) swearing.

Have you checked out my Reviews page? You'll find an alphabetical and categorical listing of all the reviews on my site!

1 comment:

  1. I just barely finished my first Shannon Hale book and had decided I should read more when I saw this review. I didn't know she even wrote this genre!


About Me!

I've been writing since I was old enough to grasp a crayon--my grandma even has an early copy of a "book" I made her. I have a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Wyoming and will (hopefully) soon be starting a graduate program in English. When I'm not breaking up impromptu UFC fights in the living room or losing miserably to my boys at Uno, I'm ... well, writing or editing, of course! I'm married to my best friend, and we have three rambunctious but simply amazing little boys.


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