A Willful Woman…

Thoughts about books from a romance addict.

TBR Challenge: Again by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

on June 16, 2021

CN: Miscarriage. Past death of a child sibling. And though there are uncomplicated gay characters, there are a few slighting references to other sorts of queerness — more ignorant than malicious, I think.

The theme: A one word title.

Why this one: Another author I’m trying to complete.

I expected this post to be late, since I only started the book Monday night. But it was like a very bingeable t.v. show — a backstage dramedy — and I couldn’t stop reading. Like other Seidel stories, it might be classified more as “women’s fiction” than romance, these days — though that would be an odd category, because I think we get far more hero point of view than heroine. In any event, it was tremendous fun.

Actor Alec is rather different from many of his colleagues on soap operas, who are all about the drama; he just wants to be a professional amongst other professionals. But he has a hard time not stepping in when others aren’t doing their jobs, and when he happens to be there when pregnant head writer Jenny starts to miscarry, he can’t help noticing someone’s really not doing his job: Brian, Jenny’s long-time lover and the father of the baby, who barely acknowledges anything has happened.

Alec’s ingrained chivalry makes him feel tenderly towards Jenny, and then to his horror, he realizes it’s gone farther than that: he’s in love with her.

This couldn’t be happening. Not to him. He was sensible, he was down-to-earth, he was Canadian.

This personal drama happens amidst the day-to-day workings of “Her Lady’s Chamber,” a soap opera set during the Regency. As Alec quickly realizes, Jenny — creator and writer of the show — has put a lot of her own relationship into it, some parts consciously, some decidedly not. As the characters develop, and especially as Alec creates his role as a villain, the parallels start to become uncomfortably obvious to both of them.

It’s a fantastic use of the story within a story format. As often with Seidel, it’s not very subtle storytelling, with a lot more tell than show. But it’s just so interesting and satisfying. And though it’s dated (amusingly, one of Alec’s previous soap operas was called “Passions” — several years before that show existed) and barely steamy, anyone who enjoyed “Downton Abbey” or “Bridgerton,” or likes reading about acting and backstage life, should give it a try.

5 responses to “TBR Challenge: Again by Kathleen Gilles Seidel

  1. KeiraSoleore says:

    I enjoyed this book very much. It was my first Seidel. I’d seen it recommended multiple times, so I took the plunge, and I’m glad I did.

  2. WhiskeyintheJar says:

    Well this sounds different and good. The story within a story can get messy for me sometimes, it needs a steady hand but sounds like the author pulled it off. I feel like this book could have a surge in popularity because of, like you said, Bridgerton; people would like thinking about those actors have some on-set romances. I’m going to have to pick this one up when I get the chance. Thanks for the great review!

  3. Kaetrin says:

    I picked this one up for 99c just last week!

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