Envy Hardcover – Aug 2001
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The prologue of a novel arrives in the Manhattan offices of a book editor, who's intrigued enough to chase its mysterious author, identified only by his initials, to his decrepit plantation on an island off the Georgia Coast. That's the first clue that fiction is stranger than fact; few publishers (if any) would go to that sort of trouble for anything less than a new J.D. Salinger novel. But bestselling author Sandra Brown makes the most of her far-fetched premise, setting up a convoluted plot that keeps the reader engrossed despite its flaws and foibles.
Maris Matherly-Reed is more than an editor. She's also the beloved daughter of the publishing house's highly respected and successful leader, and the wife of Matherly Press's second-in-command, the smooth, suave, double-dealing Noah Reed. Reed, it develops, is the real target of the literary scam set up by the reclusive writer of the novel whose opening pages so captivate Reed's spouse. P.M.E., the writer, has a score to settle with Maris's husband, and he doesn't care whom he hurts as long as he brings Noah down. At least, not until he meets Maris, who has an unfortunate habit of falling in love with her authors (see above; that's the second clue). Brown is a master at romantic suspense, and Envy displays the talents that have won her a devoted following: a deft hand at evoking the vulnerability and humanity of her protagonists, a sure command of narrative tension, and a nice sense of place. This is a terrific hammock read, just right for a summer day as sultry and humid as Envy's Low Country setting. --Jane Adams
From Publishers Weekly
Style and form are usually the least of prolific bestselling romance/thriller writer Brown's concerns, but in her latest effort she takes on an unusual challenge, setting out to craft a novel within a novel within a novel. The onion begins to peel when editor Maris Matherly-Reed plucks a prologue from the slush pile and finds herself hooked by the steamy prose. The author has furthermore titillated her by breaking the rules: no SASE, no cover letter. Maris knows only that his initials are P.M.E. and he lives on St. Anne Island in Georgia. (How does she know P.M.E. is a man? She... knows.) Gutsy, idealistic, deliciously sexy, Maris is married to philandering sociopath Noah Reed, who runs Matherly Press with Maris and her father, Daniel, last of the silver-maned gentleman publishers. As for P(arker) M(ackensie) E(vans), he's a bitter, wheelchair-bound, first-time novelist or is he? Is he using Maris to avenge himself against Noah, or does he love her madly or can the answer be all of the above? Cutting back and forth between the bernovel and Parker's autobiographical novel about a purloined novel, Brown stages one dramatic scene after another. The narrative voices don't change much (although the typefaces do), but Brown's loyal legions frankly won't give a damn. (Aug. 28) Forecast: Brown could probably write a novel in blank verse and still hit the bestseller lists, so her experimentation here (mild, in any case) won't throw readers. The book is a Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club main selection and a BOMC alternate, and major TV, radio and print media ad campaigns (plus New York transit ads) will blanket the country. Expect the expected: a blockbuster.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
The story begins in a publishing house in New York where the owner's daughter, Maris Matherly-Reed, is an editor with an eye for a great story. She gets one in a partially written manuscript. The only problem is the author is only identified by three initials and has given a return address of a small Georgia-Coast island. This story has intrigued her enough that she discusses the writing with her father, Daniel. He encourages her to seek out the author and so she goes on a search to the island seeking this unknown author.
When Maris finds the author, Parker Evans, she is surprised to find him in a wheelchair. Getting him to finish writing the story takes all her skills as an editor or so she believes. Slowly, as she reads a chapter or two at a time, a story about two college roommates, each of whom wants to be the first published author starts to unfold. The more she reads, the more she begins to think this is not the fiction Parker tells her it is.
As Maris travels between the island and New York, she begins to find out things about her husband that distress her. Things like his adultery and she begins to wonder to whom she is really married. Her husband, Noah Reed is co-publisher in Matherly Press but has ambitions far beyond his present position. He is ruthless enough to do anything to get it and has a past that Maris knows nothing about. Slowly the pieces begin to fall into place and Maris discovers a love she thought she already had.Read more ›
Meanwhile, using a "book within a book" technique, we meet another author through Maris, one Parker Evans, of St. Anne Island, Georgia. Parker has submitted a manuscript prologue to a book that captures Maris's imagination. She hunts for and finds the author and soon we get to read several chapters of the author's book while the ongoing story of "Envy" proceeds. Before its all over, we learn from Evan's book why he's so severely handicapped, as it turns out his story is autobiographical with himself as a protagonist and another real-life person as the villain -- wonder who? The tribulations of this whole crowd entertain all the way to a surprising and satisfying conclusion.
Brown has the writing skills to hold our attention and make us care, and the plotting skills to keep us puzzled for nearly 450 pages. While some of the sex was probably a bit too explicit for us (we're a little prudish), the story is captivating and makes pages turn in an awful big hurry toward the end. We get a bit of an inside look at book publishing and some thoughts about that awful emotion envy along the way. So this is what a romantic thriller is like !
The prologue features a manuscript for Envy, about a horrible and tragic accident that two college friends experience. The author of the peice leaves only initials, and does not include contact information. He sent the manuscript to Maris Matherly-Reed, chief editor of Matherly Press to be evaluated. The story catches her attention, and ahe decides to search for the writer whose initials are P.M.E.; she hopes to read more and possibly publish the manuscript.
Throughout the novel, excerpts from the Envy manuscript are incorporated to help the plot come together. It turns out that P.M.E. sent his story to Maris MAtherly-Reed on purpose, to get revenge on her husband, Noah Reed. His manuscript turns out to be a true rendition of a past friendship with Noah, and betrayal which left P.M.E. disabled. The story uncovers Noah's secret life of manipulation and violence to get what he wants, with no regard to anyone involved, including Maris.
In this novel, Sandra Brown really writes two different stories that come together to form a thrilling plot that definitely keeps the reader's attention. Right when the story seems to unfold, another twist in the plot changes the scene. Her writing style really grabs the attention of the reader to keep their interest. Envy is a true page-turner.
Most recent customer reviews
This is a real page turner, and difficult to put down. It offers mystery, romance, and is well written with realistic characters.Published 2 months ago by Cali
Have paperback and e-reader versions for handy access because I like to revisit this story. Brown created this story-within-a-story format with flashbacks to slowly develop... Read morePublished 8 months ago by Wanda Godwin