In Clark’s debut novel, an ambitious young editor is stretched to the limit when she takes a job with a monstrous book-publishing diva. (N.B.: The author once worked for book-publishing diva Judith Regan.)
When her fatherly mentor, Jackson Mayville, retires, 26-year-old Claire Truman realizes it’s time to move on, as much as she has enjoyed her rewarding, if underpaid, stint at a top-tier New York publishing company. The same day Jackson gives her the news, she runs into an old college crush, Randall Cox, who gets her an interview with Vivian Grant, the stunning publisher of the high-profile and extremely lucrative Grant Books. Amazingly, Vivian hires Claire on the spot, offering to triple her current salary, in an offer that only seems too good to be true. The catch is that Vivian is a raving she-devil, with a horrible reputation for verbal abuse, unfair demands and capricious behavior. She is also carrying on an illicit affair with a married city official and prone to graphic descriptions of her own sex life. But in spite of all the warnings from her colleagues, Claire takes the gig, reasoning that if she holds out for a year she will learn a ton, and be poised for great things. And for a time, through dedication and luck, Claire remains in Vivian’s good graces, while embarking on a romance with financier Randall, who she ends up moving in with and getting engaged to. She also acquires a novel by Jackson’s talented nephew Luke, a sweet guy who seems a much better fit for Claire than the workaholic mama’s boy she’s with. Needless to say, Claire’s resolve to stay at Grant Books is repeatedly tested, with Vivian viciously lashing out at her in public, pitting her against another editor and threatening to pull the plug on Luke’s book. Vivian’s self-absorbed malevolence reaches its lowest (and least believable) point when she interrupts Claire’s wedding day to talk business. That Vivian never rises above caricature is a disappointment. Funny in parts, especially in the gleeful anarchy of some of Vivian’s more sociopathic rants, this boss-from-hell derivative closes with a rather conventional love triangle.
Predictable Devil Wears Prada clone.