Chick lit scales Capitol Hill in this breathless first novel about a perky blonde fundraiser. Sexton has a Republican fundraising background; Johnston is a playwright.
Temple Sachet, the blonde with the big boobs, has inherited her mother’s Midas touch and Republican politics. She hates to leave her Louisiana hometown for St. Louis on her mother’s remarriage, but the good news is that her stepfather Daddy Gil, a bank president, is just plain adorable. Once Temple gets the chance to intern in Washington., D.C., as a Ray of Hope, she catches Potomac Fever and never looks back. It doesn’t matter that Temple is clueless about political issues (never discussed); she’s phenomenal at massaging donors. We learn all about click lines, Direct Mail and Major Donors. She’s only 29 when she becomes finance director for the Republican Senate Campaign Committee. The senators are mostly creeps, slobs or weirdos; one of them grabs her breasts out on the street. Temple does have one crisis of conscience (“I was raising all this money, but what was the point?”), but it’s fleeting. A workaholic who also loves to party, Temple doesn’t have much luck with men; most of the staffers on the Hill are gay. Her best friend is Goldie, a divine Yorkshire Terrier who rides in her purse. The authors provide incidents but no plot and no nuances. In Temple’s telling, everything blurs: the struggle to reach financial targets, the senatorial rivalries, the heartbreak of Daddy Gil’s death, the morale boost of hair extensions. If there’s a climax, it’s the moment she’s stabbed in the back by one of her few human friends, but Temple handles it well: “Restraint coursed through my veins instead of blood.” Goldie would have consoled her, but the dog has died, and her best prospect for a boyfriend, “an Asian JFK” who’s an animal-rights activist, has been using her to network. It’s time to leave the cesspool.
There’s nothing here to attract either chick-lit or Washington novel readers.