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Thief of Words: A Novel [Hardcover]

John Jaffe
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)

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Book Description

April 16 2003
Some people court with flowers and chocolates. Not Jack DePaul, features editor of theBaltimore Star-News. Divorced, the father of a grown son, and recently burned by a painful affair, Jack meets Annie Hollerman and quickly figures out that the way to her heart is through the power of words. At 26, Annie had it all. Star reporter at a respected North Carolina newspaper, engaged to a hotshot colleague, Annie seemed destined for greatness-until one horrifying mistake changed everything. Twenty years later, Annie is divorced, focused on her career as a literary agent, and wary of romance. Enter Jack DePaul, who comes into her life and literally rewrites her past, chapter by chapter. But there's one horrible chapter Annie refuses to share with anyone. Unless she takes the chance that Jack will love her, bad chapter and all, Annie's story can never have a happy ending.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Based on Jaffe's real-life romance with his wife, this debut novel proves that truth is cuter than fiction-regrettably so. Literary agent Annie Hollerman is in her mid-40s, a refugee from dead-end relationships and a promising newspaper career that ended in minor scandal when she was in her mid-20s. Journalist Jack DePaul, a 50-something Harrison Ford type, yearns for the fiery enthusiasm of his youth. A friend introduces them over e-mail, and after a blind date the two begin a passionate if cautious flirtation. Composed largely of Jack's missives, the book reads almost like his journal, with plenty of immediacy and in-the-moment energy, but little drama. There's a voyeuristic giddiness to the reader's enjoyment of Jack and Annie's letters, e-mails and phone calls, but the story of their affair has all the suspense of a nursery rhyme. At one point a psychic tells Annie she will meet a man surrounded by words. She can't believe it. The reader can. Only one brief moment of conflict threatens the lovers' happiness. At a business meeting, Jack's old girlfriend finds his e-mails to Annie and, in a fit of jealousy, tells Annie that Jack wrote the same e-mails to her. Fortunately, Jack happens to be editing a story about former reporters, and his writer needs to interview Annie. Before the reader has a chance to fret, Annie and Jack forgive each other and are reunited. This novel has the allure of familiarity, but there's little else to recommend it. Foreign rights sold in Germany and Italy.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

When we first meet Annie Hollerman, she's a talented young reporter rising quickly up the ranks. Pressured to meet an impossible deadline, she resorts to plagiarism and is fired. Eighteen years later, 44 and divorced, Annie is running a literary agency in D.C. Her friend Laura, reporter and fervent matchmaker, gives Annie's e-mail address to her 50-ish boss, Jack DePaul. The ensuing relationship is chronicled in their e-mails: clever repartee gradually develops into longer missives in which Jack rewrites Annie's past, creating romantic, highly visual imaginings that Annie loves. "I need to erase that Canada trip," she writes him, "take me someplace exotic." A "thief of words," he transports her on magic-carpet rides to the jungles of Mexico, or the slow train to Bangkok, while she, in turn, makes him laugh again. But, of course, everything is too perfect--the plagiarism incident comes back to haunt Annie, and Jack's jealous ex-lover strives to intervene. Packed with juicy newspaper gossip and literary in-jokes, Jaffe's novel is perfect for savoring on a lazy day. Deborah Donovan
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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What you need, Annie Hollerman, is a man with a good ass." Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Debut novel has a way with words Oct. 24 2003
In 1982, Annie Hollerman had a great job at a North Carolina newspaper and, at 26, showed great promise as a journalist. With fiery red hair, she was not a great beauty but had enough looks and brains to make a difference. Until one horrible mistake changed everything.
Twenty years later, Annie runs a literary agency in Washington DC. Two years divorced, Annie's long-time friend wants to fix her up with Jack DePaul, editor at the Baltimore Star-News. Jack is also divorced and has a grown son. He has a passion for good writing and loves words. "A part of Annie wanted to say yes. But there was always another part, a bigger part, that warned her to steer clear of her past and anyone who might pry it open." Stay away from journalists.
Reluctantly, Annie and Jack have a blind date, which goes so well it surprises them both. Between dates, Jack woos Annie with eloquent and romantic e-mails, creating a new and imaginary history between them. But when the past and present collide, where will it leave Annie and Jack?
What captivated me most was timing. Coincidentally, I stumbled across this book as I was getting to know someone new in my life. I could easily relate to the first date butterflies, flirtatious e-mails and first kiss anticipation.
Witty romance written by a man? Well, almost. John Jaffe is actually a pseudonym for the husband and wife writing team of John Muncie and Jody Jaffe. This is their first book, which is also based on their meeting and romance. "It's the prequel to our current lives." A very good story that includes wit, romance, friendship and honesty. Just good writing from a new and welcome talent.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Love and Caring Wins Out June 6 2003
Annie Hollerman is a has-been star newspaper reporter banished into oblivion for unknown reasons to the reader as the story opens. Jack DePaul is the features editor at the Baltimore Star-News. Both Jack and Annie are divorced and both are in denial about much of their personal life.
An arranged blind date by a mutual friend of the two, Laura Goodbread, leads the pair into a wonderful and continuing encounter of exploration and mutual respect...leading toward love.
The mystery of Annie's fall from her reporters job hovers in the background, lending an interesting air of mystery during their courtship. As their infatuation deepens, author Jaffe creates a real and caring sense for the characters by the reader.
As readers wend their way through this tale, they will be moved to laugh, cry, hope and believe in the genuineness of Jack and Annie. They will be caught up and immersed in the reality of the settings and events of those two lives.
This is a really wonderful love story that transcends the usual in this genre and becomes compelling and mustn't-put-the-book-down reading. It's a love story that transcends the genre and is involving, moving and believable. Here's a true to life Romeo and Juliet story based on an actual series of events.
The authors state John Jaffe is "a pseudonym for us: John Muncie and Jody Jaffe. We wrote the book together. In fact, our novel, Thief of Words, is based on our meeting and our romance. It's the prequel to our current lives. Now we're married and work together writing books."
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If you're thinking about purchasing a copy of John Jaffe's debut novel, THIEF OF WORDS, you'd better make sure you have plenty of tissues to stop the flood of tears you may experience. I didn't cry, really I didn't. But John Jaffe (a pseudonym for John Muncie and Jody Jaffe) knows how to pull a reader's heartstrings in this romantic-type comedy that, in many ways, resembles a writer's experience with love, life and the wacky profession of print journalism. THIEF OF WORDS is a love story, not a romance novel, so let's get that straight before we go any further, OK? The cover of the book is reminiscent of a Harlequin romance novel, though it isn't.
At age 26, Annie Hollerman thought she had her love life and her career at a top North Carolina newspaper under complete control --- until one fatal mistake not only destroys her career at the paper, but also ends her relationship. The book begins in 1982 and then rapidly transports the reader 20 years later. Annie, now 46, runs her own literary agency, destined to never date another journalist again until her girlfriend, Laura Goodbread, decides she has the perfect guy for Annie: her boss, Jack DePaul, a longtime features editor at the Baltimore Star-News.
Similar to the popular film You've Got Mail, starring Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan, Annie and Jack start conversing via the Internet (doesn't everybody these days?) and viola! Before we know it, Annie and Jack are out on their first date, having the time of their lives.
THIEF OF WORDS isn't just a well-developed love story that will give any Nicholas Sparks novel a definite run for its money; it's also extremely funny at times and is dead-on with its numerous machinations of newspapers, editors and reporters.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Enchanting 242-Page Poem of Healing May 9 2003
By A Customer
Dazzlingly poetic, "A Thief of Words" has stolen my heart and has captured my literary attention. Penned by a new, soulful author, this book will deceive first-time readers with its cover's description of courting and romance; This book is a tool for healing. We all have painful memories which are seemingly impossible to forget, but Jaffe's exploration of healing allows readers to identify with characters who have not only "moved on" from their past struggles but have taken used their experiences as a sprinboard into a hopeful future and a refreshed past. The writing is captivating and descriptive, allowing readers to feel and visualize transformations along with the lovingly imperfect characters. Getting lost in this nurturing tale of reconnection with life's love and loss gives us a window not only into Jaffe's world, but allows us a glimpse into our lives as well. This is not the average romance novel- It is a soul-searching, thought-provoking, carefully crafted tale of rediscovering oneself through vulnerability, a lesson which we can all most certainly benefit from.
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Most recent customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time
While the author's style is inoffensive and carries the reader along from page to page, ther's little substance lurking beneath. Read more
Published on Feb. 1 2004 by kidsncatsndogs
5.0 out of 5 stars Poetry of words
I borrowed this book from my local library and am about to buy one of my own. Reason? There is so much poety of language in this book - sentences and phrases that leap out and echo... Read more
Published on Jan. 23 2004 by NNB
4.0 out of 5 stars A Book For Romantics
I am a mystery writer. I read mysteries, not romances or love stories, but I think I know a good one when I read it. Read more
Published on May 28 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A breath of fresh air
This is the perfect book for a long, boring plane ride. You won't be able to stop reading it and you'll be sorry when you land if you haven't finished it. Read more
Published on May 13 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Summer Read
I'm a fan of novels about journalism, about fate-twisting romances, and about colorful characters. This one has it all. Read more
Published on May 13 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't listen to the harpie at the top
Clearly, the person writing the mean review has never felt the sort of deep-seated love found in John Jaffe's first book. They're just jealous. Read more
Published on May 12 2003 by "betsyp46"
5.0 out of 5 stars forever
Anyone who doesn't like this book has forgotten those magic summer days that went on forever and the first time you rolled in free fall down a hill - the story is magic,... Read more
Published on May 12 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A great page turner with no empty calories
This elegantly written page-turner is a must-read for anyone over 40 or others who wish to understand them. It is pure pleasure to read. Read more
Published on April 30 2003
5.0 out of 5 stars A delectible tale for modern mid-life reading!
All I wanted was a good, mindless read, but I fell in love with a tale about falling in love! Now I can't check my email without a small hope that someone has rewritten one of my... Read more
Published on April 14 2003
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