Title: Pursuing the Times by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
Publisher: TKA Distribution
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Comedy
Length: 257 pages
Book Rating: B
Review Copy Obtained from Author
All that popular Chick-Lit author Mercury Lauren wants is to have one of her books reviewed by the New York Times Book Review – just one – and she’ll do almost anything to get it. In this contemporary romantic comedy, with a nod toward Pride and Prejudice she crosses swords and hearts with the Editor-in-Chief of the NYTBR in a madcap adventure that takes her from her home in Westport to a yoga retreat to a golf course in Florida. Will she get what she wants and will she finally be happy if she does? Only one thing’s for certain: nothing will stop her from Pursuing the Times.
Pursuing the Times is a fun story about Mercury Laruen’s slightly over the top pursuit of a book review by Frank D’Arcangelo, the Editor-in-Chief of the New York Times Book Review. Lauren Baratz-Logsted also provides readers with some thought-provoking observations on what it means for an author to be cast as a writer of “chick lit” fiction versus literary fiction.
Lead protagonist Mercury Lauren has a successful writing career and she works as an author full time. The only thing that remains tantalizingly out of reach is a coveted book review by the New York Times Book Review. When she meets Frank D’Arcangelo at a social event, she unwittingly insults the one man with the power to provide that review. Mercury quickly realizes her mistake but her efforts at damage control further alienate Frank and she then comes up with one outrageous scheme after another to convince him to take both her and her novels seriously.
Mercury is a rather quirky protagonist whose eccentricities are both endearing and annoying. She is stubborn, insecure, self-centered and slightly neurotic, but she can also be sympathetic, understanding and quite caring towards her friends and family. Despite her success, her family does not read her books nor do they take her lucrative career seriously. Mercury hates the fact that her novels are labeled “chick lit” and she is relentless in her zeal to be considered a literary author.
Frank is a man of strong convictions. He proves to be a worthy match for Mercury and he does not bat an eyelash at her crazy antics. Frank is willing to admit when he is wrong and even when Mercury is at her most stubborn, he takes the time to express his side of the issue that is coming between them.
The secondary cast of characters is just as offbeat as Mercury. Her BFF Angel also happens to be her agent and Angel has the arduous task of talking sense into Mercury on numerous occasions. But Mercury’s loyalty to Angel is boundless and she always has Angel’s back. Mercury’s brother Ralph moves in with Mercury when his marriage hits a snag and while they may not always get along, they would do just about anything for one another.
Lauren Baratz-Logsted has written another fast moving novel that is chock full of witty dialogue, self-deprecating humor and realistic characters who make all too human mistakes. The romantic element is understated, but it culminates in a very steamy scene that is romantic yet full of humor. While Mercury’s exploits are sometimes borderline irritating, Pursuing the Times is an entertaining story that fans of romantic comedies are sure to enjoy.