Saturday, June 1, 2013

A Novel Obsession - by Jeff Joseph - Pluses and Minuses

This is really a tough one to review.  I came across Jeff Joseph on LinkedIn.  Here’s the bottom line.  There are a number of things about the book I didn’t like.  But there is one major storyline that I absolutely loved.  I really wanted to give the book a 3 (out of 4) but had to settle for a 2.5 because of the last 30 pages.  Here’s a short rundown of the plot (remember my “short synopsis” of If You Were Here? I’ll try to do better this time).

Abby Lane is a 32-year old high school English teacher in a very small Ohio town (population 7,000).  She does not romantically like any of the men in her community but is totally obsessed with Daniel Sheppard, who is a very well-known romance writer and someone Abby has never seen (Oprah doesn’t count), let alone met.  Abby feels that Daniel “gets” women.  Her best friend since kindergarten, Julie Street, believes that Abby is in love with Daniel, even though she’s never met him (hence the title:  Novel?  Obsession?  Get it?).  Abby writes a fan letter to Daniel telling him how his books resonate with her and asking him if he will come to her town and speak with her students.  In light of the thousands of “come-on” letters that Daniel gets, Abby’s intrigues him.  He is determined to make contact with her.  A monkey wrench is thrown into that plan.  Therein lies a quest.

Throw in the high school principal, who has been in love with Abby for many years; the new high school football coach, who is also an ex-NFL player; and Julie’s husband, who married Julie for the wrong reasons (this storyline is a bit bizarre); and you’ve got a whole bunch of guys scheming on Abby.

Okay, what didn’t I like about the book? 

  1. It’s not very well-written.
  2. There are a ton of mistakes – incorrect words, sloppy grammar, poor sentence construction.
  3. It has one creepy storyline.
  4. I didn’t care for the sinister aspect of the book.

What did I like about the book?

  1. I LOVED everything about the romance between Abby and one of the characters.
  2. I really liked the twists and turns of the romance.
  3. I appreciated the scenes which caused me to tear up (no blubbering this time – whew).

As you all know by now, I’m a big fan of romance, especially romantic suspense.  Elisabeth Barrett, Joan Swan, and Virna De Paul, among others, do it much better than Jeff does.  HOWEVER, the man knows how to write romance.  I would have been much happier if he had stuck with just that aspect of the book.  Do I recommend A Novel  Obsession?  I do.  Will I read Jeff’s next book?  I will.  What more can you ask of an author. 


  1. I'm not sure I've read a man who writes a good romance. Yes, that sounds sexist, but it just means I haven't read one and now I'm curious.

  2. I can't highly recommend it. He sure balanced a great romance with a not-so-great rest of the story. And I was pretty unhappy to see so many mistakes. Ah well. If you decide to give it a shot, I'll be curious as to your reaction.

    P.S. I'm posting my review of CeeCee tomorrow morning. It's really because of you that I made the effort to see Beth. I had already decided that I would pay close attention to your glowing reviews. Now I know for sure that I will have to read anything that you rate a 5.