Vulpes Libris

A collective of bibliophiles talking about books. Book Fox (vulpes libris): small bibliovorous mammal of overactive imagination and uncommonly large bookshop expenses. Habitat: anywhere the rustle of pages can be heard.

Drama Queen by Susan Conley

drama-queenI have long intended to read a book from the Little Black Dress imprint, so thank you Vulpes, for giving me the opportunity!

Jane Boyers is a top New York TV producer who thinks she has it all – the swanky clothes, a carnal relationship with the boss – she even has an Emmy award. In fact her life is so successful, so busy, she has no time even to email her best friend, Miranda, who has left Manhattan to live with her lover in Ireland. No time at all – until her high-powered life crumbles around her and her gut reaction is to board a plane for Dublin, a journey which will end with her starring in a local theatre production directed by the irritatingly sexy Shay…

Drama Queen is a story of contrasts – Manhattan versus the Emerald Isle, cut-to-the-chase speaking versus a sleepy lilt, cocktails versus Guinness, diets versus bacon butties, clinical sex versus allowing yourself to fall in love… And as such, the reader knows right from the outset, where the story is heading – that Jane shall undergo a change instigated by her initially difficult relationship with Shay.

It is an easy read which is ideal for someone like me whose evenings of solitary reading are long gone. I was able to whizz through several chapters whilst playing Jenga and watching TV – I kid not. Plus, I was able to put it aside for a couple of days and then easily pick up the story without having to backtrack. Conley shows skill in changing point of view three or four times in one page – a technique not for the faint-hearted, and yet she pulls it off. Her writing is concise and wonderfully vivid at times, as shown by her description of a character called Bob:

A full head shorter than Jane, he looked about twenty-five, and his hair, spiked by what had to be enough gel to coif a Third World country, sprang up from his skull in erratic chunks. Highlighted as it was in bright yellow, Bob looked as if he’d sprouted daffodils on his head. He wore an outsized, wrinkled suit with an apparent lack of irony and – Jesus, thought Miranda, he’s wearing fuchsia Crocs!

At times in the middle, once the plot and ending were firmly established in my mind, my eye did slip as a sense of predictability increased my reading-speed. Despite this, the setting of the conclusion was an unexpected surprise and I was glad the main characters reached the point I thought they would.

So, next time you are going on holiday, have a few hours to kill on the train or just fancy kicking off your shoes and unwinding with something in front of the box, treat yourself to Drama Queen – accompanied, of course, by a few cans of the black stuff!

Paperback: 320 pages, published by Little Black Dress, ISBN-13: 978-0755345724

Sam Tonge is a writer and blogger and a regular guest reviewer on Vulpes. You can find out more about her on our guest page or visit the website “Strictly Writing”.

5 comments on “Drama Queen by Susan Conley

  1. Lisa
    March 6, 2009

    Wow, I really like that cover. I like the sound of the concise and vivid writing. But you mention a sense of predictability, which I think would probably put me off a little. Did you feel like there was a lot that was new in this book, or did part of you wish for more originality?

    Many thanks for this review, Sam :)

  2. Sam
    March 6, 2009

    Hi LIsa,

    I didn’t think there was an awful lot new in this book regarding themes, it centred on a well-worn conflict of city versus country life, the high-flying rat-race versus rural living – but saying that, it depends what you expect from a book. There are many predictable, humorous romances out there and this is one of them and they do what they say on the tin – or, er, the book spine:) In other words, this is a great light read if that’s what you are in the mood for, when the kids are running around the lounge or if you are on the beach. So if you don’t like that type of book then no, this probably isn’t the book for you. But if you do like that type of book, it is nice to know what you are getting – a predictable but enjoyable plot arc with a satisfying ending for the romantic in you.

    The writing is very pacey which is great for someone like me with the attention span of a flea.

    Sam

  3. Jackie
    March 7, 2009

    This sounds like a nice bit of fluff, which is often something I need after a couple serious themed books. The excerpt made me laugh, the daffodils especially.I think I’d like the style. Enjoyable review, pleasantly conversational.
    But what is Jenga? I’m guessing a type of game, but obviously I need to Google for more info. I’m so out of touch….

  4. Sam
    March 7, 2009

    Thanks, Jackie.

    As for Jenga, you build a tower out of wooden blocks by removing a block from underneath and placing it on the top, trying not to make it fall over. Not to be played after a glass of vino:)

    Yes, it is a nice bit of fluff which most of us need from time to time – I certainly do after a day of writing (and subbing and getting rejected…:))

    Sam

  5. Jackie
    March 7, 2009

    Thanks Sam, for explaining Jenga. Sounds like it needs too much coordination for the likes of me. Wine might make it even more challenging. lol
    Hope that the rejections soon turn into acceptance. If your other writing is like what you do on VL, I don’t understand what their problem is. The meanies!

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This entry was posted on March 6, 2009 by in Fiction: women's.

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Acknowledgment

  • (The header image is from Aesop's Fables, illustrated by Francis Barlow (1666), and appears courtesy of the Digital and Multimedia Center at the Michigan State University Libraries.)
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