Oh…How I WISH this could be a series. But how many times can you convince your boyfriend to read a Nora Roberts romance novel?
My old-school Private Scandals cover!
Trent rivals my Mom and Nana when it comes to blog readership, even during my series about Nora Roberts novels. I thought that was really sweet of him, especially all of his comments on some of the books that I wrote about. What I didn’t expect was for him to actually read one! Try to imagine a grown man visiting his local library and asking for Private Scandals, a romance novel published in 1994. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that there was no way that a library had a copy of that book that was in one piece, usually 2008 is our cut off for books that aren’t falling apart and a mess. But he found one, thanks the the hard core binding of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library system.
Just to recap, Private Scandals is the story of Deanna Reynolds, an up and coming journalist in Chicago who takes a chance and dives into the world of syndicated talk shows. As her star starts to rise she becomes a target for her former mentor, Daytime Queen Angela Perkins, who is determined to stay on top, and a mystery stalker who becomes more and more obessed as time goes on. Deanna also captures the eye of Finn Riley, a rough and ready foreign corespondent, who is super hot and a CATCH.
So what did Trent have to say about Nora’s early 90’s masterpiece? Read on for our interview:
Q: How would you describe this book to a first time Nora Roberts reader?
“Private Scandals” is a romance novel set in early Nineties Chicago and follows the trials and tribulations of an ambitious woman named Deanna set on making her name in television. She becomes a talk show host because, we are told, she has incredible warmth and empathy. The character, however, is written coldly and it became difficult for me to see why our main romantic interest is in fact interested in her. It is bizarrely paced and the prose is patchy. The specifics of the end of the book were so surprising that I felt the author must have been equally surprised as well. However, it is a fun story in its own way, and I enjoyed reading it. It was interesting, as a non-targeted male reader, to study the way that the romantic male lead was constructed. It is an idealized, note-perfect male archetype, to be sure, but the popularity of Roberts’ novels suggests that there is a reason such an archetype is featured. I honestly would recommend this book to young men for that reason. In other words, this is a book for girls, which is why boys should read it.
Q. What characters in this story have the best chemistry?
This is an easy one for me. Angela Perkins and her assistant/producer/lover in New York. What’s his name? At any rate, they are written both individually and as a couple to be derided and pitied. But they have a symbiosis that is completely lacking in the Deanna/Finn relationship. I suppose…Ed is it? [It's Dan]…is painted as the parasite but oft times the host benefits as well, as here. In other words, I find their relationship entirely believable. In third place I would put Finn and Deanna, one slot below [the stalker] and that lock of Deanna’s hair.
Q. Where do you think Finn Riley ranks among all time romantic heroes?
Hmm. As noted, I think Finn is valuable as an example of what the author and many of her readers think of as an ideal man. I definitely bought into him as someone to be desired, but I think he’s less successful as a character. If he ever showed any reluctance–which he would later overcome of course–he’d be closer to the Han Solo archetype. Freewheeling bad boy that while dangerously attractive is actually pretty centered and loving and loyal. As it is, he’s a masculine journalist who has likely read both “Iron John” and “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus.”
Q. Private Scandals takes place in the early 90s in Chicago, give me some of your favorite 90s references from the book.
I’ll do you one better. As an early Nineties cultural artifact, I think it’s instructive to think of “Private Scandals” in partnership with it’s pop art sister-from-another-mister, the 1992 Dolly Parton film vehicle “Straight Talk”. In the latter as in the former, a corn fed beauty comes to Chicago and winds up as a talk show host sensation. Although Dolly has more reticence and less initial ambition than Deanna, there are many fun parallels to be enjoyed. And ultimately, in each instance, in the process of finding her own voice, our tough-as-nails but feminine heroine helps the hoi polloi find their own voices, too. We came very close to having talk-show-in-early-nineties-Chicago become an actual genre! If you don’t have time to watch the whole movie, give the accompanying “Straight Talk” music video a listen. You can find it here
. She actually references both Oprah Winfrey and Phil Donahue in the lyrics. Seriously.
Note: I can’t believe I haven’t seen this movie! Sadly, the library does not have a copy.
Reading at the New Albany-Floyd County Library