SALSA WITH THE POPE by Samantha Wren Anderson


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In Anderson’s debut novel, an aspiring actress learns to put herself first as she navigates relationships with an egotistical playwright and a New York Yankee.

Thirty-three-year-old Samantha enjoys salsa dancing, lives with a roommate in Hackensack, New Jersey, and pursues an acting career in New York City. Sam believes that “all men fall into one of three categories: taken, gay, or assholes,” so she’s surprised to find that the guy teaching her acting class doesn’t seem to be any of these. Alan is an actor and writer who’s connected in the Broadway scene. He’s under pressure to rewrite his play, so Sam supports him as his confidant, co-writer, and biggest fan. However, when his play is finally produced, he lets another girl get cast in the lead role instead of fighting for Sam. Finally, after Sam spends two years playing second fiddle to Alan’s ego, he dumps her. Instead of letting it derail her, however, she starts writing her own one-woman play, trains to qualify for a marathon, and looks for a new apartment in New York. Just when she thinks she’s done with men, she meets none other than Darren James, the star New York Yankee baseball player, at a salsa club, and they dance the night away. When Sam’s show is produced and her relationship with Darren becomes serious, she finds herself forced to choose between the Yankee and her career. Anderson tells a familiar story of a woman looking for love and satisfaction in the big city, but certain aspects of the story are refreshingly new. Sam is a teetotaling commuter, for example, rather than a Cosmopolitan-drinking Manhattanite. Although she’s juvenile at times and puts up with poor treatment from her boyfriend, Sam has a solid backbone, and she’s a good friend to those in her life. Anderson’s humorous prose fairly accurately describes being young and single in New York (roommates, commuting, bad dates, working a day job). Although the book is long, readers will enjoy its element of escapism. After all, what woman doesn’t dream of dating a Derek Jeter type?

A lengthy but engaging romance boosted by a fun main character and her baseball-playing love interest.

Publisher: Manuscript
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2015


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