Book Review: The Editor by Steven Rowley @mrstevenrowley @PutnamBooks #TheEditor #stephlvsbooks

Book Title and Author: The Editor by Steven Rowley
Publication Date and Publisher: April 2, 2019 by G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Genre: Contemporary, Historical Fiction
Pages: 320 pages
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Date Read: March 8, 2019 (e-arc)

4.5 Stars

Goodreads Synopsis:

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.

My Thoughts:

Lily and the Octopus is a book that I absolutely love, so I knew I would read anything Steven Rowley wrote next but when I read the synopsis for The Editor and realized the editor in this book was Jackie Kennedy, it absolutely made it to the top of my must-read list of spring books.

James Smale is a young, unpublished novelist who is sent by his agent to Doubleday Books to discuss his semi-autobiographical novel with the person who wants to become his editor. No one warns him that the editor just happens to be Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the former first lady!

The two quickly develop a very unexpected friendship, along with their writer-editor relationship that is a delight and heartwarming! Jackie Kennedy’s intelligence, grace, charm, sophistication, as well as her known shyness and demureness are captured perfectly by Rowley with great sensitivity and subtlety and although she’s not the main character of the book, she’s such an essential and marvelous part of the story–her wit, wisdom, and gentle (sometimes not so gentle) pushes along the way are certainly the guiding hands for James’ character growth in the novel! Just like James, you can’t help but be completely enamored by her character!

Yet, this is James’ story no matter how many scenes Jackie may appear. James can’t write an ending to his novel that meets with his editor’s approval! His publication date is looming fast and at his editor’s insistence, his novel needs a completely different ending, but he can’t write one until he repairs his relationship with his mother with whom he’s at odds because she never wanted to be the basis of the “mother” character in his novel.

The novel is also a coming of age story as James finally discovers who he really is and uncovers some long buried, hard to handle family secrets.  More than anything, the story is about the powerful, complex, and all-encompassing love between a mother and son and the journey in discovering what that means for both of them.

The characters are so believable that I almost thought they would step off the page, so I can’t wait to see the movie adaption of the book of which Rowley is both writing the screenplay and acting as the executive producer! The inclusion of Jackie Kennedy as a literary character just makes it the perfect read, at least for me since she’s on my list of famous women whom I most admire, and I’d loved to have met her, just like James.

Rowley has written another emotional, thought-provoking beautiful book full of humor and wit that I believe is markedly his own. The Editor is a delightful, heartwarming, at times very heartbreaking, original novel that will remain a favorite. I highly recommend this one!

**Thank you Edelweiss and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for the ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review.**

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32 thoughts on “Book Review: The Editor by Steven Rowley @mrstevenrowley @PutnamBooks #TheEditor #stephlvsbooks

  1. Lovely review, Steph! I have this one on my TBR. I haven’t read Lily and the Octopus, but I own it…Waiting for the right time! I’ve been looking forward to the Jackie character since I first heard about this one. Happy Thursday, my friend! ♥️


    1. Thank you, Jennifer! Lily and the Octopus left me a blubbering mess, so I’d have lots of tissues when you do. I did cry reading this one too but I don’t think everyone will. Ah, yes! Jackie as a character sold the book! Happy Thursday to you too! 💕❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds beautifully written, Steph. It’s not one that I would normally pick up, but your review pulled me in! I’ll make sure I have it added. Glad you enjoyed it and lovely review. 💕

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, good! I hope you both enjoy it. It’s a little slow in places but they didn’t bother me at all since the story is one to take your time with. It was very emotional in places, and the ending had me crying, but I don’t think everyone will be that way. Thank you!


  3. I had already wanted to read The Editor when I saw the title around, so when I read the synopsis and realized that Jackie O would be featured, I pre-ordered it. I am also eager to see a movie made from the book, even though I haven’t yet read it. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I thought of you when I started this because I knew you also liked the Kennedys. It’s wonderful to get a glimpse of her life as an editor and how she just wanted to be like everyone. I think the movie will be great. I hope you enjoy the book! You’re welcome!


    1. Yes! Totally different vibe though and some people who loved Lily have been upset. It’s not going to make you bawl your eyes out through it, well I did, but the book goes through the end of Jackie O’s life and that killed me! I missed 4 days of school when she died because I was such a mess, omg! So some people might bawl reading this and it’s highly emotional with the mother/son relationship, it is a different kind of story. I loved it though. More authors need to write books with famous characters in them!

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  4. I love believable characters!! Great review, Stephanie. I had no idea Jackie Kennedy is in this book.
    I was granted a first look of this one but alas couldn’t download it in the format that was sent to me. I’m really disappointed now. 😔

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Can you email the publisher and tell them the file you sent them won’t open and you’d like to read it for review? I had a file from Edelweiss do that and the publisher was able to fix it, I believe it was Harper. I know this is Putnam, but it might be worth a try.

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