I got this as part of the B&N First Reads program. This was also the first book I read on my Nook!
About the Book
When Nancy, whose most recently published work is a medical newsletter, is asked to join a writing group made up of established writers, she accepts, warily. She's not at all certain that her novel is good enough for the company she'll be keeping. Her novel is a subject very close to her heart, and she isn't sure she wants to share it with others, let alone the world. But Nancy soon finds herself as caught up in the group's personal lives as she is with their writing. She learns that nothing--love, family, loyalty--is sacred or certain.
In the circle there's Gillian, a beautiful, scheming, world-famous poet; Bernard, a pompous but lovable biographer; Virginia, a respected historian and the peacemaker of the group, who also happens to be Bernard's ex-wife; Chris, a divorced father and successful thriller writer; and Adam, the youngest of the group, an aspiring novelist who is infatuated with Gillian. And then there's Nancy, an unassuming fiction writer embarking on a new chapter in her own life. They meet to read their work aloud and offer feedback. Over the course of a year, marriages are tested, affairs begin, and trust is broken.
Through their complicated relationships, these eccentric characters share their families, their beds, and their histories, and soon find that buried secrets have a way of coming to light. Hearts break and emotions are pushed to the limit in this richly engaging tale of love, betrayal, and literature.
This book was weird. I really liked it, but I didn't really connect with the characters. I understood what they were going through (well, except for Gillian) and I liked them (again except for Gillian) but I just didn't connect with any of them.
I liked Nancy, she was pretty grounded. I liked Virginia, she seemed liked someone I could be friends with. Bernard was an odd character, as was Adam. I felt so bad for Adam, I could tell he was in love with Gillian, but I didn't fully understand why.
The story wasn't slow, but the big stuff didn't really start happening till near the end. Even though Gillian was a bit of a witch, I didn't really think she had the gull to do what she did. Just after that curve ball I did become slightly endeared to Nancy, but it as the story jumps between characters I moved onto the next character's emotions.
The writing was good. The story jumps between the characters, and just when I would start to connect with one character the story would jump to another. It didn't really detract from the story, but I think it kept me from really connecting to any one character.
I liked the idea of the writing circle. I'm not an author, but I think it would be nice to belong to a group of other authors that can give you advice about what you're writing. I know I like my knitting group because I can bounce ideas and get feedback on what I'm doing, I would imagine a writing group would be similar.
I'd say this was well worth the read. It didn't really take all that long to finish, and the end was satisfying...