Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Talk Of The Town - Sherrill Bodine

Talk Of The Town
Sherrill Bodine
Grand Central/Forever

Contemporary Romance

For the past fifteen years, Rebecca Covington has been the undisputed queen of gossip in Chicago, and she wrote the column to prove it. Imagine her shock when she arrives at work one morning to be told that she’s out, and someone else has taken her place. Someone who is younger, allegedly hipper, and more in sync with what the new owner of the paper, widower David Sumner, wants. In a clear attempt to avoid an age discrimination lawsuit, the managing editor puts Rebecca on the food column; two columns per week of recipes.

The bright side, if you can call it that, is that, at 45, Rebecca returns to the chaos of the newsroom and will be working for a woman who once won a Pulitzer. Determined not to give the paper’s new owner, David Sumner, the satisfaction of seeing her quit, Rebecca takes on the recipe column and gives it her own bit of flair. Advertising revenue immediately doubles for those pages.

Rebecca is the more realistic of the two as a lady approaching "a certain age" and wondering if it's all downhill from here. David comes across as some kind of saintly philanthropist – he coaches underprivileged kids on a Little League team in his spare time – without too much depth. When David and Rebecca meet, however, they’re both surprised. It’s not often that a romance concerns two adults in their late forties or early fifties, so, points for originality there. When the two meet, there’s an undercurrent of hostility and defensiveness over the situation at the paper. Even so, neither is remotely what the other expected.

TALK OF THE TOWN reminded me very much of the movie “His Girl Friday,” a 1940s screwball comedy starring Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell, both employees at a major metropolitan paper. This is a compliment. The novel is much more frothy, but effectively uses comedy to bring together the two protagonists. If you’re looking for a lively read, you won’t find one that’s more fun than this.

Rating: 7 ½
December 2008
ISBN# 0-446-61858-6 (paperback)


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