Cover Image: The Editor

The Editor

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Member Reviews

I absolutely loved the premise of this novel: a struggling young writer, James, discovers his new editor to be none other than the extremely famous, Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Rowley does an incredible job crafting the character of Jackie to be both larger than life and simultaneously a down-to-earth woman. I loved the inclusion of historical details that make her a fully fleshed-out character.

The reason this wasn't a five-star read for me was because I only really loved the parts of the book that contained passages about Jackie. I loved her relationship with James and her skills as a talented editor. While there was one twist to keep things interesting about halfway through the book, there wasn't enough to keep me riveted. I just wanted more Jackie! The chapters that focused more on James just left me a tad bored (and I'm pretty familiar with the life of a writer!).

I would definitely read something else from Rowley - his style is charming - but I probably wouldn't recommend this one to everyone unless they're Jackie O fans already.
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A young man just sold his first novel to a small imprint within a publishing house with an interesting head editor - Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.  James Smale, this debut author has no clue when he goes to meet his new editor that he is meeting someone that is literally a historical figure and through editing this book his life will change.  

If you are a Jackie Kennedy fan like me, this is a fun book to read to see a new perspective on her in her later years and a look at her passions and a profession.  Known as an avid reader and a book fan, to see her find the profession of book editor is cool and then to read a fictional tale of a debut author working with her is just great.  You can imagine if she had never entered the Kennedy family could this had become her profession earlier?  I would hope so!

This book is great for a book lover because it gives the behind the scenes glimpse of books and the way they come about.  All of the hands that take a book from a concept to printed and on the shelf.  I will always love reading about the ins and outs of the industry that I admire - more please!

There were a few moments in this book where the story went back in time and I just wish that the book had made a note of it.  Just a few times it was confusing that we were sent back in time and stayed there for a bit and it would have helped with the reading if it had been announced or notated ahead of time. 

I cried and laughed while reading this one.  It was the best escape from the news of the world and a great companion for a summer weekend.
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I really enjoyed this book.  I loved learning about this part of Jackie O's life and enjoyed seeing how Jackie helped James come to terms with his relationship with his mother.  I have always been fascinated by publishing, so to get to read the behind scenes of the editing process was a treat.
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I had Lily and the Octopus on my to-read list, but then I saw Steven Rowley’s new book on NetGalley, and of course I bumped my ridiculously long line to read that one first (thanks, NetGalley!). I couldn’t help myself—this book has a terrific hook of a premise. As an author, getting your first book deal seems achievement enough, but Rowley ups the ante when the debut author in his novel meets his editor—Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Of course this must have happened to many people over her two decades in publishing, but I had never thought of the day-to-day reality of it before. I checked online to see if there were other stories about Jackie’s career in books, and ironically, two came out within months of each other in 2010 and 2011, but it doesn’t look like either of them gained any real traction. 

Rowley comes at this from a different angle, in novel form rather than a straight biography or collection of anecdotes. I think this book draws its success from the fact that, while we are inspired by Onassis and the glamour of Camelot that she represented, we probably appreciate the working-woman ordinariness of her even more. Onassis is truly just a hook, because this story is not about the public figure we think we know. Instead, Rowley tells the moving story of a writer’s journey to find his truth, at the urging of his caring and sometimes enigmatic editor. The fact that this editor is Onassis is merely incidental; because at the end of the day, all that truly matters to each of them is bringing the very best story to the page.

For Goodreads:

Why I picked it —I loved the premise, which of course is based on something that actually had to have happened in Jackie’s long career, but still seems like a myth.
Reminded me of… One of my favorite books about publishing, and really only because it was about a beloved editor, Dear Genius: The Letters of Ursula Nordstrom. 
For my full review — click here
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The Editor describes a hypothetical world in which the twice-widowed Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, working for a major publishing house as an editor, takes a liking to the semi-autobiographical first novel of a young gay man and decides his manuscript should be published. I enjoyed it very much. The imaginary dialogue between the young man and Mrs. Onassis depicts an insightful editor who pushes the young novelist to improve his book by working harder to understand himself and the mother that is the focus of the novel. I found particularly interesting and entertaining how the book's author depicted the effect of  Mrs. Onassis's fame on the nature of the young writer's interaction with her.
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Rowley's previous work of fiction, "Lily and the Octopus" is one of my favorite novels. I was really excited to read this book, and am so surprised that it was not a favorite for the year! Everything about this book felt very on the surface, I never felt connected to any of the characters or what they were experiencing.
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This author is creative and writes very well. I was drawn to this book as a writer and a journalist. It is a book about a struggling writer that finally gets some help and not just some help but help from Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis herself. It is his big break in publishing — what a dream come true! It is set in New York City during the 1990s and the main character is James Smale who is selling his novel (an autobiographical novel about his family) to an editor -- Mrs.. Onassis. Smale has some trouble finishing the book, but Mrs. Onassis helps and a friendship also is created between the two of them. This book has some humor, but the story and humor often gets lost, at least for me in many places. The humor seemed out of place for the book I thought I was getting. I think the humor overshadows the story sometimes for me. As for character development it was well done. The character of the real person Mrs. Onassis in particular felt real even though it was a fictional portrayal. I enjoy historical fiction and I have read now so I don’t think I’ll revisit it as I sometimes do with books I enjoy a lot. I think that’s enough. Though I was a little disappointed in this book I still feel it was not a wasted read.
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Sorry to say that this one didn't hold my attention at all and I had to put it into the Did Not Read pile. The premise is intriguing enough, but I think it falls into the realm of historical fiction a little too much (for my taste anyway) and just did nothing to move the story along. I really wanted to like it though, and may revisit again, but for right now, it sadly did not live up to my expectations.
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Contrary to popular opinion, Rowley's sophomore novel just did not give me the warm and fuzzy thrills that I got from his debut novel (Lily and the Octopus). I wanted so badly to love this one, too, but it just wasn't what I needed/wanted. Also, I have a hard time reading books about difficult maternal relationships, so there was that. Basically, this is totally a case of It's Not You, It's Me. 

Much Thanks to NetGalley & Putnam for this advance copy for review.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publishing house for providing an advanced copy for review. All thoughts and opinions are my own! 

I have had such a hard time waiting to read this second novel from Steven Rowley, but I wanted to save it to prepare for our MomAdvice Book Club chat this month. Rowely's first novel, in fact, is one that I recommend so much that I added it to my top ten favorites in my Summer Reading Guide. To say he had a lot of hype to live up to, it would be an absolute understatement. 

Guess what? He managed to do it again! 

Set in the 1990's, James Smale sells his first book to a major publishing house and is assigned his first editor. He could have never guessed that his editor would be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, when he walked into that office, but who could ever prepare a writer for that? 

Mrs. Onassis had fallen in love with this autobiographical novel that tells the stories of his own dysfunctional family. Many notes of his story end up falling short and his editor knows it is because Smale hasn't truly owned his family story. She encourages him to make his way back home again and make the necessary resolutions needed to his real story to give it the conclusion his readers deserve. 

As James returns home, he begins to realize that sometimes the way we interpret our own stories are, simply, the stories we tell about ourselves. His strained relationship with his mother challenges James to look at her in a new light...changing the entire scope of the book.  

I really can't believe that I never knew that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis had ever really been an editor so I was surprised to read that this was absolutely true (although not as a well-documented portion of her life). 

Rowley treats her legacy with the kindness and beauty it deserves without speculation, but with stunning observation. As she mothers this writer to get conclusions for his own life, you can't help to fall in love with her even more.

It's a beautiful fictional friendship that I didn't want to end.

I loved this one start to finish! 

The review for this novel will go live on on July 1st.
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Beautifully written, clever, and fashionably unique. The book featuring Jackie O and a cast of solid characters caught my attention and Steven Rowley is a talented writer. The cover itself is imprinted in my mind and I found the story itself it stand out to me compared to others this past spring. He's bright, talented, and chose an iconic person to integrate into a riveting fictional story.
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An excellent read, especially if you enjoy historical fiction and stories about families. A quick, well written read that will stay with you after it’s over.
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I stepped out of my comfort zone with this novel.  I am not a fan of historical fiction, or family dramas.  I do feel that those who do enjoy historical fiction novels will love this one.
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This was a fascinating read! I had no idea Jackie O aka Jacqueline Kennedy had a career in book publishing in real life prior to reading this fictional tale. While that part of the book was what piqued my initial interest, what kept me reading was the relatability of the main character. While I am not a gay man, I identified quite a bit with James Smale. His personality, his insecurities, his relationships especially with his mother and the rest of his family, all felt very authentic and understandable on a universal level. Any book about books always gets my attention, but this one earned my praise for what it has to offer beyond the books. I will be recommending The Editor to all of our customers looking for their next book about books or for a tale of family drama told by a fairly ordinary man trying to find happiness and success and the celebrity editor who helps him along the way, Thank you to Netgalley for providing me with a free digital advanced readers copy of The Editor in exchange for my unbiased review.
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What if Jackie Kennedy was your editor?  I loved this! A writer that finally gets picked up by Double Day Publishing gets the surprise of his life when he discovers that Jackie Kennedy is his editor. His novel is about his mother, whom he paints in a not so gracious light. Jackie tells him he needs an ending to his novel. She sends back home where he discovers secrets about his mother he never knew before. There are just so many things in this novel that I loved. The characters, his relationship with Jackie, his relationship with his lover. This was wonderful! I highly recommend this novel. A great book club selection as well.
Thank you to the publisher for this Net Galley copy
Dawnny Ruby-BookGypsy
Novels N Latte Book Blog
Novels & Latte Book Club
Hudson Valley NY
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I enjoyed this book, mainly because of the Kennedy connection and I did end up crying at the end.  It also gave me some insight into the publishing world, which was something that I know very little about.
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A really interesting family story that also happens to involve the legendary Jackie Kennedy. A fascinating look at her time in the publishing industry, as well as a funny and relatable mother/son relationship.
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Throughout the book, you are taken on a wild ride of discovery, family, secrets, lies, and just a little bit of history. It is so interesting to see another side of Jackie O, the Editor in her and how she had taken New York by storm in the early nineties. 

That was another thing about the book... the time period. It was so present while reading; mentions of clunky televisions, newspapers, and the golden era of publishing. The New York hoopla around Jacqueline Kennedy was like another character in the book and it just made me hungry for that time period again.

James and Jacqueline discuss politics only once or twice throughout the book but you are constantly wanting more from the fictional Mrs. Kennedy. We see talk of the future President Clinton and the scandals that followed him before he was even the presidential nominee. It was just so interesting... so interesting to read a story that took place just as I was being born but one that I so desperately love.

"The Editor" takes you on a journey of James writing his first book that just so happens to be about a complicated familial relationship. Jackie pushes him to go deeper, to find out more about the relationship and to come to terms with it. Through this, we find out a few secrets and discover a lot about James' family. There were definitely a few times when I gasped, not seeing the plot twist from a mile away.

The book was written fast... like I could hear and feel the urgency in every word but it delighted me so much. In a weird way it reminded me of the 90s, like how fast Carrie Bradshaw talks in "Sex and the City" or the way Fran Fine moves from story to story in "The Nanny." There was just something so familiar about the writing that it felt comforting.

If you love history, if you love the 90s as a decade, if you love Jacqueline Kennedy, and if you love books, this is something that I hope will move you the way it moved me.

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This story took too long to get where it was going. It was good to a certain point and then it just kind of lingered for me. I lost interest when 2/3 way through I still couldn't like the mom.
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This was an interesting book with a great premise.  Imagine you are a struggling writer and your manuscript finally gets picked up by a major publishing house.  You show up for your meeting with your editor, and it's Jackie Kennedy.  Surprise!  

I liked the way the book described the inner thoughts of the writer as he produced his book, but I thought that the "mother" issues with his mother and then substituting Jackie was a little awkward in places.  However, I enjoyed the book overall and recommend it.

Thanks to G.P. Putnam's Sons and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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