Publisher: Gilbert Street Press
Publication Date: February 19, 2014
Paperback: 238 pages
A TV sitcom pitch gone wrong turns dog-column writer Susan Meyers in a tailspin. Sex Sells was the topic of the day at the writers’ convention. Susan decided to try something new and a steamy romantic novel seemed just the answer. A widow who hadn’t dated in three years, Susan was out of practice with men and sex. She turned to an online dating site to find inspiration for her book and unleashed a predator with the words she wrote. Tucked an hour away from her friends in a small town where she kept to herself, with only her tiny dog for company, Susan felt safe from the world. Little did she know her life was about to change.
A romp of a story about writing and finding yourself in this book within a book. If you love girl-talk, farmhouses, antiques, country towns, a touch of murder, a sprinkle of suspense, and a bit of naughty fun, come join Susan as she learns about life from her character Jamie. Two widows looking for love in all the wrong places might still get it right if they live long enough.
Buy, read, discuss.
Barbara Barth likes a lot of things: turquoise jewelry, surfing the ‘net, and margaritas, to name a few. Then there are the dogs. As many as her house can hold! This Georgia antique dealer and jewelry maker published a hobby newsletter for 13 years. After her husband died she recorded the year that followed in a series of essays. When she isn’t writing you can find her at the local thrift shops or pounding another nail into the wall to hang the paintings she can’t resist. She published a memoir The Unfaithful Widow and Danger in her Words is her debut novel.
Connect with Barbara
When I was offered the chance to read and review Barbara Barth’s first novel Danger in Her Words, I jumped at the chance. Why? Because someday I’m going to be hawking my own first novel, and supporting other women writers is just good karma. Also, I’d just read a bunch of heavy novels, many of which took place in the Interwar period – the span of years between World War I and World War II. I wanted something light, and fun, and if it was a little bit salacious, so much the better.
What I got was a wonderful novel that’s really two stories in one. In one story, author Susan is settling into her life in huge farmhouse in a quiet village, and starting a new career as a fiction writer, while also opening herself to the possibility of a new relationship. She’s funny, and smart, and what I love about her is that she’s not twenty. (As someone who is also a couple of decades beyond twenty, reading about protagonists who are closer to my age, even if we don’t share the same experiences, is immensely gratifying.)
I also love that she has a dog. I work in dog rescue, and have three of my own (plus a foster-dog, most of the time) so if there’s a dog in a story, I’m much more likely to find that story relevant. Daisy is an adorable addition to an already great novel.
The second story is the novel Susan is writing, about a woman named Jamie who is obviously based in part on Susan. Jamie, too, is looking for love, or at least really good sex. Preferably both.
Both the actual novel, Danger in her Words, and the novel-within-the-novel are technically romantic suspense, and author Barth handled both the romance and the suspense well in both cases. A creepy stalker who trawls the internet for victims is incredibly plausible, but Barth never makes her novel preachy, though her characters are all self-aware, making internal observations when they engage in behavior that’s less than safe.
Similarly, the sex scenes are delicious, keeping the reader in the mood and never straying too far into silliness or too far the other direction into tab-A/slot-B clinicality. (Is that a word? It is now.)
I loved reading this book. I found the characters to be bright, realistic, and appealing, and it made me want to go live in a farmhouse (though, mine would have to be in a town where there actually is a Starbucks).
In fact, there’s only one thing I disliked about this novel, and I’m hesitant to write it, because it’s a personal thing, but I’m going to in the interest of honesty. In some of the sex scenes, the author uses the word ‘dick’ in reference to male anatomy. Now, this is a perfectly appropriate use of the word; it’s just that for me the word ‘dick’ isn’t at all sexy. When I use it, it’s a pejorative, as in Wil Wheaton’s go-to admonishment, “Don’t be a dick.” (For the record, I prefer ‘cock.’ Now you know.)
But that’s a minor thing, and, as I said, it’s my issue, and should in no way imply that Barbara Barth wrote anything other than a wonderful sexy novel that you should all go buy and read right now.
Goes well with homemade fried chicken and sweet tea from a local diner.
This review is part of a blog tour hosted by WOW – Women on Writing via their blog The Muffin. For more information, and the complete list of tour stops, click HERE.