Review: The Editor (Steven Rowley)

The Editor
Author: Steven Rowley
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Historical Fiction
Note: This review is for an ARC and is my unbiased opinion.

Rating: ★ ★ ½

Synopsis:

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a novel about a struggling writer who gets his big break, with a little help from the most famous woman in America.

After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie–or Mrs. Onassis, as she’s known in the office–has fallen in love with James’s candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book’s forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can’t bring himself to finish the manuscript.

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page…

From the bestselling author of Lily and the Octopus comes a funny, poignant, and highly original novel about an author whose relationship with his very famous book editor will change him forever–both as a writer and a son.


When I saw that Steven Rowley was releasing a new book, I jumped on the chance to read it. I absolutely adored his début Lily and the Octopus and I couldn’t wait to read more of his writing. Unfortunately, The Editor just wasn’t for me.

The Editor had a premise that I was very interested in reading. I don’t know much of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ life, but I was curious how she would fit into this story. Her friendship and professional relationship with author James Smale intrigued me. This was the part of the story that I liked. Mrs. Onassis came off intelligently and with a level of sophistication that I loved. James’ interactions with Jackie were my favorite part of the book.

What I didn’t love was James. I couldn’t connect with his character. He was shrouded in this negativity that was hard for me to like. He, and his mother, were annoying. I couldn’t get myself to care about their passive aggressive relationship. This made it hard to want to continue reading. I really had to push myself to finish the book. That is why this book didn’t rate higher for me. I would still recommend this book to people who have a Kennedy Onassis interest or like historical fiction set in the 1990s.

10 thoughts on “Review: The Editor (Steven Rowley)

  1. Great review! I’m sorry you weren’t able to enjoy this one better… James sounds like a character I would have problems with as well.

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