After years of trying to make it as a writer in 1990s New York City, James Smale finally sells his novel to an editor at a major publishing house: none other than Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Jackie—or Mrs. Onassis, as she’s known in the office—has fallen in love with James’s candidly autobiographical novel, one that exposes his own dysfunctional family. But when the book’s forthcoming publication threatens to unravel already fragile relationships, both within his family and with his partner, James finds that he can’t bring himself to finish the manuscript.

Jackie and James develop an unexpected friendship, and she pushes him to write an authentic ending, encouraging him to head home to confront the truth about his relationship with his mother. Then a long-held family secret is revealed, and he realizes his editor may have had a larger plan that goes beyond the page…


My Thoughts: The Editor is an engaging story that focuses on the publishing industry of the recent past. Set in 1990s Manhattan, the tale features the unique and captivating addition of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the charming editor for a struggling author. Her literary gifts remind us all of how rare such bookish delights seem set against our contemporary world of Print-on-Demand literature in various formats.

James Smale, as the author, is on a chaotic journey when the story begins. His dysfunctional family is the centerpiece of his work, which offers the opportunity for Jackie to guide him through the process of rewriting his own life by reconnecting with his mother, the protagonist of his fictionalized autobiography. His mother has kept him at arm’s length, remaining silent to his questions about their family history. Jackie’s advice: let her tell her story. Will an unexpected secret widen the rift between them, or be the first step forward to a new relationship?

The book and its characters swept me back to an illusory time when we were not bombarded by social media, the 24 -hour news cycle, and constant cynicism. I miss being able to admire those in positions of power. For a little while, the glow of a golden time that I always think of as a part of Jackie and the lives she led settled over me and held me captive. 4.5 stars.***


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