Stay Tuned ~ Lauren Clark 2.5*

Melissa Moore works behind the scenes as a producer for WSGA, Macon, Georgia’s very own television station. The young and beautiful Alyssa Andrews and the womanising Tim Donaldson are a team in front of the cameras and a couple behind them, presenting local news each day. When their affair goes south, both Alyssa and Tim go AWOL and Melissa goes on screen to save the situation. But her on-screen persona can’t reflect her rather dowdy and dated daily self, so Melissa’s daughter Kelly and best friend Candace help her to revamp her wardrobe and make over her hairstyle. An even bigger problem is that her marriage to husband Chris, a portfolio manager for Macon’s largest financial firm, has gone stale. Melissa fears that the empty nest created by Kelly going off to college will be empty of her husband too if she can’t revitalise their relationship. With Candace’s Dr Phil inspired wisdom and her faith in God, Melissa tackles her career challenges along with her relationship problems.

The book is 62 chapters long with an Epilogue, and could have been trimmed considerably. Not chick lit and not romance either, the book falls somewhere between Christian fiction and general fiction. A superficial exploration of marriage and the nature of friendship, with pop psychology in the form of Candace’s many Dr Phil quotes thrown in, the book spent too little time on the relationship between Melissa and husband Chris and too much time on the peripheral sub-plot of the affair between Alyssa and Tim. The plotline of that failed affair was a caricature and failed to inspire my compassion or serious interest. On the other hand, Melissa’s husband Chris isn’t even introduced until Chapter 3, and again the superficial treatment of him frustrated me. I wanted to know him better and understand why his marriage was of so little interest to him.

The book is technically well written, but it could have used more proofreading before publication. A number of errors were spotted, mainly words left out of sentences, and bad spacing in the typeset text was irritating. The plot was full of action, but some of the situations were not explored sufficiently and one or two were unbelievable. The character of Melissa was well drawn, but husband Chris was not given the same depth. I really didn’t care about him because he seemed a cardboard cut-out. Although one would expect primary, secondary and peripheral characters in a book as long as this one, some of the main characters received scant attention while secondary and peripheral characters received more treatment from the author than their importance to the story justified.

I appreciated the author’s style of writing and the dialogue was particularly good. The setting was interesting and gave a peek into what life is like behind the cameras for local broadcasting stations.
Published by Monterrey Press at Smashwords in 2011.

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