A butler’s fictionalized account of the unhappiness in a Hamptons household and the true heart of the mansion—the staff.

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The Billionaire's Butler

MYSTERY, MURDER AND ROMANCE IN THE WACKY WORLD OF THE SUPER RICH

In Williams’ novel, a butler recounts the jealousy, drama and poisoning in the home of his Hamptons employer.

In his first novel, based on true events, Williams describes his turn as house manager for wealthy Mr. Farber and his much-younger second wife, Mrs. Elena Farber. Williams trained at a well-respected butler school, but nothing would prepare him for the mystery, intrigue, jealousy and attempted murder that occur in the Hamptons mansion of his employers. Williams must navigate the tension-filled relationship between the Farbers as well as gain the trust of the staff. Not long after Williams begins working for the family and is finally managing the lavish social calendar and quirks of his employers, the marriage of Mr. and Mrs. Farber starts to deteriorate, and Williams is caught in the middle. Things come to a head when someone gives the couple poisoned cognac. The investigation yields no leads despite the many suspects. Williams reveals the poisoning early in the narrative, describing the suspects and then retracing the events leading to the attempted murder. The novel builds tension throughout, but the ending is as decidedly anticlimactic as in real life; however, Williams’ insight into the lives of the wealthy and those who serve them intrigues. He imparts household knowledge (“silverware” is reserved for real silver utensils while “flatware” refers to stainless steel) and illustrates the lack of privacy for the rich: “The thing is, as house staff we see, hear, and feel all the emotions going on in the house each and every day, which affects all of us here and the work we need to get done.”

A butler’s fictionalized account of the unhappiness in a Hamptons household and the true heart of the mansion—the staff.    

Pub Date: Dec. 11, 2013

ISBN: 978-1492805557

Page Count: 290

Publisher: CreateSpace

Review Posted Online: Jan. 14, 2014

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An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

THE AUTHENTICITY PROJECT

A group of strangers who live near each other in London become fast friends after writing their deepest secrets in a shared notebook.

Julian Jessop, a septuagenarian artist, is bone-crushingly lonely when he starts “The Authenticity Project”—as he titles a slim green notebook—and begins its first handwritten entry questioning how well people know each other in his tiny corner of London. After 15 years on his own mourning the loss of his beloved wife, he begins the project with the aim that whoever finds the little volume when he leaves it in a cafe will share their true self with their own entry and then pass the volume on to a stranger. The second person to share their inner selves in the notebook’s pages is Monica, 37, owner of a failing cafe and a former corporate lawyer who desperately wants to have a baby. From there the story unfolds, as the volume travels to Thailand and back to London, seemingly destined to fall only into the hands of people—an alcoholic drug addict, an Australian tourist, a social media influencer/new mother, etc.—who already live clustered together geographically. This is a glossy tale where difficulties and addictions appear and are overcome, where lies are told and then forgiven, where love is sought and found, and where truths, once spoken, can set you free. Secondary characters, including an interracial gay couple, appear with their own nuanced parts in the story. The message is strong, urging readers to get off their smartphones and social media and live in the real, authentic world—no chain stores or brands allowed here—making friends and forming a real-life community and support network. And is that really a bad thing?

An enjoyable, cozy novel that touches on tough topics.

Pub Date: Feb. 4, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-7861-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Pamela Dorman/Viking

Review Posted Online: Oct. 27, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

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A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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