Yes, it’s true, I’m a big fan of Sami Brady, the character Alison Sweeney played on Days of Our Lives for year. But you know what? Sweeney rights some darn entertaining books too! Opportunity Knocks is the third novel that Alison has written, following The Star Attraction and Scared Scriptless. They’re pure chick lit, but Ms. Sweeney has two things in her favor: extensive knowledge about television and the entertainment industry that brings such color and character to her novels, and she can actually write!
With her third outing, Alison tells the story of Alex, aspiring make-up artist, who moves from L.A. to New York to prove herself to her parents, her boyfriend, and most importantly herself. Opportunity knocks, and she answers. But how could Alex know that in mere weeks, while successfully serving as make-up artist to a popular cooking show host with severe diva tendencies, it would all come crashing down, threatening not only her newly found independence, but her very welfare!
Fortunately, Alex has caught they eye of super-celebrity actor Billy Fox, perfect specimen of gorgeousness, and eager to help Alex get out of the incredibly tight spot she has found herself in. While some of the romantic elements of the novel slightly undercut Alex’s true road to independence, Sweeney works hard to keep Alex as the primary focus and agent of her life. As Billy points out to her, there’s a difference between letting others make decisions for you or swoop in to save your bacon when you’re in trouble, and asking friends for some help.
Shobha Rao has created a powerful and elegant collection of short stories around the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947. While the stories take place all around the world, the characters in this story are all experiencing the effects of the uprooting and displacement of families. Women in particular face a rough ride during this time and in this culture, but Rao spares no one in this hard-hitting, yet thoughtful collection that explores race, class, religion, sexuality, and love during a tumultuous time.
In addition to writing a sparkling collection of writing, Rao is one of the most delightful and engaging authors I’ve met over the course of the year. An Unrestored Woman heralds the debut of a talented and lovely writer. Each short story is like a drop of water in the desert, leaving a parched throat aching for more. I can’t wait to see what Rao does with a full-length novel.