The Book Gourmet

Book reviews à la bookworm...The good, the bad, and everything in between.



Professional Reader Reviews Published

Private Scandals by Nora Roberts

Private Scandals - Julie Finneran, Nora Roberts

Deanna Reynolds is slowly rising through the ranks at Chicago’s CBC news division and cultivating, by giving up her free time, her friendship with the reigning queen of talk shows, Angela Perkins. Then, a story about a plane in distress, despite being “stolen” by one of the passengers, fellow CBC reporter Finn Riley, brings her to the attention of the bosses, and Angela, trying to get rid of competition both on air and off it, offers her a job in New York.

When Deanna refuses out of loyalty, she discovers the true face of TV’s darling Angela, an emotionally manipulative woman willing and able to do anything for vengeance. And as Finn slowly wears down Deanna’s defenses and worms his way into her heart, it only fuels the fire of Angela’s rage.

As the two women battle it off in the ratings, and Angela plots Deanna’s ruin, there’s someone else on the sidelines, bidding their time to make their move. To save Deanna from her enemies, rid her of Finn’s presence, and finally claim her for their own.

What a wonderful book this was. It had it all, great characters, romance (oh, romance), drama, suspense, two insane (each in their own way) villain, cat-fights, intrigue...I loved it from beginning to end, even though the pacing was iffy in spots. :)

The story itself spanned approximately three years, three years in which a lot happened, on and off air, backstage, and in the world. I liked the fact that, despite it being fiction, featured fictive characters, sets, and shows, a bit of realism was infused by “surrounding” it (and the characters) in the real-world event of the Gulf War with Finn Riley reporting from Saudi Arabia during the operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. And it probably wasn’t intended, but I couldn’t help but draw a few parallels between that war and the fictional war between two queens of television Ms Roberts has created.

I liked the steady pace, the slow buildup to every single climax of this story; the initial row between the diva and the future star, the romance, the final push of the crazy fan. The slow pace created a false sense of security (for the characters and for the reader), lulling everybody in thinking it was safe, before striking.

The story of Deanna, the rising star, and Angela, the declining diva, and their rating battles, the intrigue behind the scenes, the back stabbing, was interesting and intriguing, the crazy fan angle was chilling, and more and more frightening as the story progressed, but what really captured by attention was the romance.
Mostly because of Finn, the steady, charming, and rather stubborn guy determined to win Deanna’s heart no matter what and how long it took. It was a pleasure to read how he whittled down her defenses, and how she, despite herself and her reservations, let him charm her, allowed herself to fall in love. I didn’t particularly like her somewhere in the middle, as she almost ruined it all by trying to fit their relationship into one of her lists, and discovering she couldn’t (and he wouldn’t allow it).
And yes, despite this being her story, I couldn’t help but feel Finn firmly (as he did with the story of the plane in distress) and effortlessly stole her story and the spotlight. This deceptively calm, laidback guy in the end turned out to be anything but, with an (over)protective streak a mile wide, and just the right amount of possessiveness to keep things interesting without descending into obsession.
And, as it turned out, his character was just the perfect counterbalance for hers, with them being opposites despite their many similar traits. No wonder the romance worked so well.

Well-written, well-paced (despite some iffy spots), nicely balanced, with amazing characters, and wonderfully woven plot. Loved it.