The Seductive Lady Vanessa of Manhattanshire

A Novel

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Pub Date 07 Jun 2022 | Archive Date 22 Jun 2022

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A hilarious, multi-layered, modern mashup of Don Quixote, Cold Comfort Farm, and The Thirteenth Tale, The Seductive Lady Vanessa of Manhattanshire is an ingenious must-read for fans of romantic fiction, literary satire, and books about books.

Famous Arabic translator Oona Noor receives a mysterious manuscript from Cairo entitled The Seductive Lady Vanessa of Manhattanshire and realizes she has discovered a masterpiece. The book, written by an unknown author named Aisha Benengeli, spins the tale of Maxine More, a divorced, romance novel–obsessed New Yorker who envisions herself as a Georgian Lady and sees the world entirely through the prism of her beloved books. Designating her cleaning lady Magdalena Cruz as her lady-in-waiting, Lady Vee embarks on a series of misadventures. She mistakes a plumber for a famous alpha male; pursues her poodle-owning crush, Nelson Dodge; dispenses misguided advice to the lovelorn and goes man-hunting on New York’s Upper East Side. Heartbroken when the manuscript ends abruptly, translator Noor journeys to Cairo, hunts for the concluding pages, and uncovers a stunning confession from Lady Vee’s creator Benengeli about her own romantic troubles. As the author struggles to find happiness for her crazed character and herself, the translator desperately searches for the elusive writer. In the end, this delightfully inventive novel unspools three tales about three very different women, each on a quest for a perfect love story.
A hilarious, multi-layered, modern mashup of Don Quixote, Cold Comfort Farm, and The Thirteenth Tale, The Seductive Lady Vanessa of Manhattanshire is an ingenious must-read for fans of romantic...

Advance Praise

“Kaufman has written a witty and utterly original take on the Don Quixote story—charming and unexpected.” —Miranda Heller, author of NYT bestseller The Paper Palace

“Mad times call for mad literature. Seth Kaufman’s zany and hilarious re-interpretation of the Don Quixote legend, via a delusional, middle-aged, romance novel junkie on the Upper West Side, lives up to the challenge. Also, it has a happy ending! Insofar as the novel otherwise defies description, I strongly recommend you read it yourself.” —Lucinda Rosenfeld, author of Class

“The Seductive Lady Vanessa is tailor-made for all book addicts seeking fun, adventure, and laughter. But romance fans will find themselves particularly smitten as Lady Vee and her Brooklyn-born lady-in-waiting caper through modern Manhattan(shire) looking for love in all the wrong places. Like its forerunners Don Quixote and Pride and Prejudice, the book smuggles in deep human issues amid the antics: addiction in sneaky modern forms, loneliness amid vast crowds, and acceptance of self as a bridge to freedom. This is a wonderful, sharp, and laugh-out-loud work that takes a kind-eyed look at the risks, struggles, and rewards of wanting a little love now.” —Robin McLean, author of Pity the Beast

“In The Seductive Lady of Manhattanshire, Seth Kaufman not only brings Don Quixote’s obsession with chivalric romances into the 21st century through the hilarious Manhattanite Lady Vee’s mad passion for romance novels, but he also updates Cervantes’s narrator Cide Hamete Benengeli through the suspenseful story of the Egyptian Aisha Benengeli, this novel’s ‘author.’ A fit successor to the many works of wit and satire that have followed the path of Don Quixote de la Mancha, Kaufman’s novel will satisfy readers seeking both Cervantes’s metafictional play and ironic jabs at self-fashioning as well as Jane Austen’s gentle satire of the business of romance.” —Rachel Schmidt, author of Forms of Modernity: Don Quixote and Modern Theories of the Novel

“Kaufman has written a witty and utterly original take on the Don Quixote story—charming and unexpected.” —Miranda Heller, author of NYT bestseller The Paper Palace

“Mad times call for mad...

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ISBN 9781637583623
PRICE $17.99 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

This book was the perfect form of escapism and I loved the unquie premise. You can expect to be entertained by all of the colorful characters.

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"Together they would be the talk of the kingdom"
"And yet dreams lack the linear, cartesian logic that I identify with a perfect story"
"A lady must always be a lady after all"
This book, this story, these characters and this author completely took me by surprise.
When I first started reading it, I was expecting everything but what I actually read.
In a combination between reality, fantasy, written and lived, this book plays with confusion and bewilderment just enough to keep the reader's interest, while also raising questions about life, love and perception...
Lady Vanessa 's life is just like that of every single person who sometimes feels suffocated by their own reality.
The story of the author themselves is the story of every single reader who's trying to escape in a different world, where our characters can do and feel everything we do, while trying to deal with our owns.
Of every writer who has a story to tell and doesn't know if it's gonna be heard.
"Am I good enough? Am I serving my character, my reader, myself? Will anyone possibly care about my work?"
After all, how many of us have even just once dreamed of being teleported into a Bridgerton reality, where the most important thing was wearing proper dresses and finding the right soul mate?
It is confusing yes, but I loved the changes of povs. I really liked the fact that, while one chapter we could follow one plot, the other someone else was at the centre of attention.
And the great references to classical colture, mentioning famous novels like Don Quixote ... loved those!
I really wished I could have read more about it all ... but I guess it's all work in progress!!
"Now I think I just loved that this desirable man desired me"
"I've started to think about something that should be news to no one: that love can be fatal"
"Was she crazy? Or just love crazy?"

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Wow! What a funny, clever, critical and sympathetic book about books. I loved the update on Don Quixote -- and the situations Lady Vanessa gets into often had me laughing out loud. The same goes for her fabulous sidekick Magdalena. But I also loved how the plot took so many fun and unexpected twists and turns. What starts out as a total comedy actually ends up being really dramatic, too. I thought it was a wonderful book. Highly recommended.

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I read this book without trying to look for any deep meaning hidden amongst Lady Vanessa's escapades. I just read and laughed at the silly antics the Lady finds herself in, taking pleasure in the absurd and accepting at face value. Doing that I found this well written, hilariously entertaining, with sharp, witty, if somewhat eccentric excerpts throughout.
Thank you to the publisher and Net Galley for the free ARC, I am leaving my honest review in return.

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