Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sandra Brown: Envy

Envy: A

The prologue of a novel arrives in the Manhattan offices of a book editor, who's intrigued enough to chase its mysterious author, identified only by his initials, to his decrepit plantation on an island off the Georgia Coast. That's the first clue that fiction is stranger than fact; few publishers (if any) would go to that sort of trouble for anything less than a new J.D. Salinger novel. But bestselling author Sandra Brown makes the most of her far-fetched premise, setting up a convoluted plot that keeps the reader engrossed despite its flaws and foibles. Maris Matherly-Reed is more than an editor. She's also the beloved daughter of the publishing house's highly respected and successful leader, and the wife of Matherly Press's second-in-command, the smooth, suave, double-dealing Noah Reed. Reed, it develops, is the real target of the literary scam set up by the reclusive writer of the novel whose opening pages so captivate Reed's spouse. P.M.E., the writer, has a score to settle...

Envy was my first Sandra Brown and came to me recommended by fellow book-lovers; I was not disappointed.

Maris Matherly-Reed is a high-profile editor and the daughter of a publishing house mogul. When she is sent an anonymous manuscript – a prologue to a story, she is intrigued and set upon finding the author. Little does she know the adventure she is about to embark on when she sets out to meet the mysterious “P.M.E.”

Brown deftly weaves in the story that P.M.E. has written along with the journey that Maris sets. She also reveals, little by little, who P.M.E. is and what he is trying to do. Envy is charged with intrigue – just as Maris is intrigued by P.M.E., readers are intrigued by the tangle of the real story. It’s not until the end that everything comes together, quite cleverly.

I’m not intentionally trying to be vague, but it’s also not my desire to reveal the twists and the “Oh!”s of the story. It is a satisfying read charged with sexual tension and suspsense; I didn’t want to put it down. Highly recommended.

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