REVIEW: OPEN YOUR EYES, BY PAULA DALY

 

Jane Campbell avoids confrontation at any costs. Given the choice, she’ll always let her husband, Leon―a bestselling crime writer―take the lead, while she focuses on her two precious young children and her job as a creative writing teacher. After she receives another rejection for her novel, Leon urges Jane to put her hobby to rest. And why shouldn’t she, when through Jane’s rose-tinted glasses, they appear to have the perfect house and the perfect life?

But then Leon is brutally attacked in their driveway while their children wait quietly in the car, and suddenly, their perfect life becomes the stuff of nightmares. Who would commit such a hateful offense in broad daylight? With her husband in a coma, Jane must open her eyes to the problems in her life, as well as the secrets that have been kept from her. Although she might not like what she sees, if she’s committed to discovering who hurt her husband―and why―Jane must take matters into her own hands.

 

My Thoughts: I am a big fan of Paula Daly, so I was eager to read Open Your Eyes. From the very beginning, I was caught up in the lives of Jane and her husband Leon. What happened to him upended their lives, and as I rapidly turned the pages, I kept asking myself who among their acquaintances would have done such a horrendous thing? But as Jane makes discoveries and realizes the extent of Leon’s secrets, she is afraid. And when the police seem to be looking in all the wrong directions, Jane tries to figure some of it out on her own. But will her efforts take her into more dangerous places?

I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next, so the pages flew by. Just when I thought I had it figured out, the answers came seemingly out of nowhere. I loved how the twists and turns took us into the dark side of the publishing world. 5 stars.

***

FRIENDSHIP TESTED — CAN IT SURVIVE?

Four aspiring writers who met at a writers’ conference maintain their friendship several years later. Their individual writing careers are varied, but problems of one kind or another plague each of them.

Mallory St. James has “bestseller” status, but she has hit a glitch. Writer’s block. Kendall Aims has failed to win an award that would have made a difference, and her publisher is dumping her. And so is her husband. But she has to write one more book, in the midst of the chaos of her life. Tanya Mason, single mother, juggles two jobs, two kids, and a difficult mother. Faye Truett is the wife of a famous televangelist and writes inspirational romances, but beneath this pristine exterior is an explosive secret.

Imagine the furor that arises when the four collaborate on Kendall’s final novel for her publisher, and then the secret of this effort ( and so much more!) is unveiled in a most unfortunate way. And the fallout extends throughout all of their lives.

One of the most captivating aspects of this novel is the author’s ability to rein the reader into the lives of the characters, detailing every moment and unfolding snippets of backstory and motivation at just the right junctures. When we are totally invested in events, she drops each bomb for maximum impact. Reading late at night and waking up early each morning, I couldn’t wait to see what happened next.

Winding down to a very satisfying conclusion, I was poised for more. There has to be a sequel!

For The Accidental Bestseller, I vote five stars—definitely!