The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, by Suzanne Kelman (2014, 2016)

The Rejected Writers' Book ClubThe way to find literary gems is to take a chance on all kinds of offerings. In this case, a delightful cover initially attracted me, followed by the description. Small-town librarian Janet Jones and spouse Martin are empty-nesters living in Southlea Bay, located on a fictional island in Puget Sound off Seattle. They moved there from California, where difficult daughter Stephanie still lives. Determined to catch the rascally raccoons invading the garden, Martin turns to building a trap using duct tape and birdseed, while Janet does some research that lands her at a meeting of the Rejected Writers’ Book Club, led by the forceful Doris Newberry (a joke for children’s lit lovers). Yes, a club of writers who celebrate their rejection slips – “there are no bad writers here, only rejected ones.” When a call for help from Stephanie coincides with an unexpected and potentially disastrous acceptance letter from a publisher, Janet embarks on a road trip with four members of the book club. Delays and disasters on the road offers plenty of laughs for the reader, as the hapless ladies make their way south despite engine troubles, appealing dancers, landslide and a homeless storyteller, to name a few. You might be getting a sense of the novel’s weak points. A convoluted plot, a reliance on stock characters, and some unpolished writing get in the way of what could have been a great reading experience. This book was self-published through the Amazon empire, and has enjoyed some solid interest, enough to generate a paperback version this year. I hope a publisher with a skilled editor picks it up – this is a fun, gentle read that could really blossom with strong guidance. It’s billed as the first in the Southlea Bay series, so perhaps it will get a publisher’s attention yet. Recommended despite these quibbles. My thanks to the author and publisher Lake Union Publishing for the advance reading copy provided through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.
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2 thoughts on “The Rejected Writers’ Book Club, by Suzanne Kelman (2014, 2016)

    • You’re welcome! I also admit to a penchant for books with local settings, though setting in this one was not a significant player.

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