“The key to taking a stab at doing it all was getting comfortable with rarely hitting the bull’s-eye–in fact, being hopelessly left of center most of the time.”
You may recognize A WINDOW OPENS author’s name, Elisabeth Egan. She’s the book editor at Glamour magazine. She has recommended numerous wonderful novels to readers over the years, and with her debut book, A WINDOW OPENS (Simon&Schuster), Egan becomes an author to watch.
Alice Pearse has three children, a husband, a dog on Prozac and a part-time job as books editor at You, a women’s magazine. She lives next to her kids elementary school in the New Jersey ‘burbs and enjoys a close relationship with her nearby parents, especially her dad, who speaks with a voice prosthesis due to the laryngectomy that stopped his cancer.
Husband, Nicholas, learns his law firm isn’t making him partner, so he reacts by making a scene and throwing his computer across a conference room making sure his future at the firm is dead. He decides he’s going to open his own law firm, while seeking other jobs. Panicked at the loss of income, Alice realizes she needs to quit You and get a full-time job ASAP. She hates the idea of leaving her support team at You and her mentor, but she must move on for her family.
After a few job leads end DOA, she’s contacted by a woman she follows on Twitter and offered a job as content manager at a hot new start-up, Scroll, a subsidiary of a giant retail corporation, MainStreet – a fictional take-off combining Amazon and Starbucks into a titan bookstore. “Her mission, should she choose to accept it,” will be for Alice to help “reinvent the bookstore experience” by offering physical stores where customers browse e-books instead of hardbacks, lured by promise of cushy chairs and foot massages and discounts… a reader’s utopia!
Alice is soon walking and talking the Scroll line. Unfortunately her BFF, Susanna who owns the local independent bookstore, The Blue Owl doesn’t agree with Scroll’s principles. Alice tells Susanna that Scroll will create more book business, while Susanna sees Alice as a traitor to independent book sellers and even their friendship.
Meanwhile, work is going well for Alice but instead of looking for clients, Nicholas is creating a close relationship with alcohol and won’t discuss it with Alice. Soon a family tragedy strikes, the children’s beloved nanny has to leave and it’s time to see if all that “leaning in” at work is worth it.
I love how Egan captures corporate America’s pervasive unwillingness to listen to its strengths, which are its employees within their own companies. At Scroll no one wants to accept Alice’s opinions, even though she arguably fits the target demographic better than anyone else in a company full of young hipsters who “answered e-mails after midnight while tending their chickens and building lamps from spare parts salvaged at flea markets.”
Alice eventually becomes so exhausted and unhappy, she has to stop and re-evaluate what’s important, and then “a window opens” and she’s able to look to the future. Alice is very likeable and that’s key to A WINDOW OPENS. She could be anyone’s BFF, sister or next door neighbor. I’d certainly love to have her in my book club.
Thanks to BOOKSPARKS SUMMER READING CHALLENGE 2015 #SRC2015 http://www.gobooksparks.com for including us on this blog tour and for providing a copy of A WINDOW OPENS for an honest review.
Feel free to check out http://www.cindyroesel.com for more of my reviews and news about my novel, “Viewer Discretion Advised.”