Sleeping Arrangements and The Accidental Bestseller

Two mini-reviews to finish up the year!

fpoSleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham. Finished 12-24-15, rating 3/5, Romance (I guess), pub. 2008

Unabridged audio read by Katherine Kellgren. 7 hours

Chloe needs a holiday. She’s sick of making wedding dresses, her partner Philip has troubles at work, the whole family wants a break. Her wealthy friend Gerard has offered the loan of his luxury villa in Spain – perfect.

Hugh is not a happy man. His immaculate wife Amanda seems more interested in her new kitchen than in him, and he works so hard to pay for it, he barely has time for his children. Maybe he’ll have a chance to bond with them on holiday. His old friend Gerard has lent them a luxury villa in Spain – perfect.

Both families arrive at the villa and realise the awful truth – Gerard has double-booked. What no-one else realises is that Chloe and Hugh have a history, and as tensions rise within the two families, old passions resurface. It seems that Gerard’s ‘accidental’ double booking may not be an accident after all…  from Goodreads

I picked this up at the library thinking it would be something light and romantic to listen to when decorating and wrapping for Christmas.  I had no idea that Madeleine Wickham and Sophie Kinsella were the same person!  Now I’ve read one book by each of the pen names and I think I can mark her off my list.

There wasn’t anything romantic about this one.  Two couples with kids end up staying at the same Spanish villa and none of them are all that likeable.  And then there’s cheating which doesn’t make any of them more likeable.  By the end they’ve turned into new and improved characters, I guess, but I didn’t really buy it.

fpoThe Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax. Finished 12-27-15, rating 3.5/5, fiction, 419 pages, pub. 2009

Once upon a time four aspiring authors met at their very first writers’ conference. Ten years later they’re still friends, survivors of the ultra-competitive New York publishing world. Mallory St. James is a workaholic whose bestsellers support a lavish lifestyle. Tanya Mason is a single mother juggling two jobs, two kids, and too many deadlines. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and the author of inspirational romances: no one would ever guess her explosive secret. Kendall Aims’s once-promising career is on the skids-and so is her marriage. Her sales are dismal, her new editor detests her work-and her husband is cheating. Barely able to think, let alone meet her final deadline, Kendall holes up in a mountain cabin to confront a blank page and a blanker future. But her friends won’t let her face this trial alone. Together they collaborate on a novel using their own lives as fodder, assuming no one will ever discover the truth behind their words.  from Goodreads

I breezed through the second half of this novel in one day, not only because I wanted to finish before the end of the year, but because I really wanted to know what was going to happen. I was totally caught up in the story, so why only a 3.5 rating? The first half was all over the place with too many characters trying hard to make me care in only a few pages before moving on to someone else.  That first half was really slow going for me.

It’s a story about the publishing business, sure to appeal to readers and writers alike, and also the friendship between four women who supported each other through tough times.  It was solid and I’d happily read another by this author.