16 January 2024

Review: The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor

The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor book cover

* Copy courtesy of Simon & Schuster *

An author struggling to write her next bestseller receives a request from a famous billionaire in Malibu to ghost write his family's story. Our protagonist Olivia Fitzgerald has enjoyed publishing success in the past although her latest re-telling of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier hasn't sold well and now she's struggling to deliver her next manuscript. Without any progress or prospects, Olivia is unable to refuse the offer and agrees to meet billionaire and People’s Sexiest Man Alive Henry (Ash) Asherwood to discuss the project.

Olivia isn't sure whether to believe the story that Daphne Du Maurier plagiarised the story of Rebecca, and that the 'original' story was a first person account written by Ash's ancestor.

Readers familiar with the plot of Rebecca should fall in love with The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor. We have multiple 'book within a book' references with a little of Olivia's Rebecca re-telling making its way into the novel, along with the story that inspired the original Rebecca novel that somehow seems to mirror Ash's life.

In this way, the book becomes a little like Inception with a layered plot containing multitudes of Rebecca references making The Fiction Writer novel itself seem like another gothic mystery in the making.

That said, some of the descriptions gave me pause for all of the wrong reasons, like this one:
"As I walked in the sand, staring off at the gray mist encapsulating the water, I grew more determined to focus on work, on the project today." Page 72
Last I checked, mist can't enclose the water or it ceases to be mist and these moments distracted me from the story at hand.

Olivia's work situation and attraction to Ash reminded me a little of Verity by Colleen Hoover, in that a writer is staying at their employer's house in their personal space with attraction sizzling and a growing sense of unease building.

The Fiction Writer by Jillian Cantor is definitely recommended for fans of Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier, which I enjoyed back in 2019 as much as this modern offering.

My Rating:

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