Laura Rider’s Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton

A married couple starts sending love emails to a popular public radio personality, leading to tragicomic results.

In Laura Rider’s Masterpiece, Oprah-blessed Jane Hamilton’s latest protagonist is a woman who dreams of being Jane Hamilton. Laura Rider is the owner of a midwestern garden center who’s been nurturing the fantasy of becoming a writer for ages. A chance meeting with new neighbor Jenna Faroli, the host of a “Fresh Air”-type show on public radio, gives Laura the impetus to take her dreams more seriously. When a second chance meeting between Laura’s husband Charlie and Jenna leads to an email exchange, Laura decides that she should write Jenna as Charlie to see if she can create the perfect man to seduce her idol, the perfect woman. In doing so, she’ll be able to write a new kind of romance novel, one in which both lovers are equals.

Of course, Charlie knows all about Laura’s emails, and gets in on the fun, too. And, as Laura hopes, he takes the relationship to the next level. Strangely enough, Laura’s able to remain emotionally detached, because she’s thrilled about what the success of the venture says about her skills as a novelist. She’s practically picking out her outfit for Oprah.

I found myself somewhat detached from this story, even as I kept reading to see where it would go. I never connected with any of the protagonists because I didn’t really understand where they were coming from. Maybe I am just too happy in my own marriage?

One thought on “Laura Rider’s Masterpiece by Jane Hamilton”

  1. Hm, this sounds a little bit like this book I read a while ago called The Interloper – constructing a (semi)fictional persona through letters. However, this sounds a little less creepy; The Interloper was well creepy. I’ve never read anything by Jane Hamilton, might as well start here! 🙂

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