Crossing Washington Square

Monday, August 31, 2009

This second novel by Joanne Rendell, Crossing Washington Square, was such an enjoyable and smart read. I flew through the book, and it truly reminded me of why I love contemporary women's fiction so much! It did this not just because I loved this book itself but also because of the interesting discussions about contemporary fiction that take place within the story.

The two main characters are each female literature professors, at the fictitious Manhattan U, who are on opposite ends of the literary spectrum. Rachel Grey is a young, animated professor still working towards tenure. Her recently published book explored the relationship between the work of Jane Austen and contemporary women's fiction. Diana Monroe, on the other hand, is more serious, already tenured, and studies the works of Sylvia Plath. She and Rachel immediately dislike each other and maintain a tense relationship. The tension is further heightened when a charming and attractive visiting professor from Harvard arrives and gives both Rachel and Diana flattering attention. Then, without realizing the other is going, Rachel and Diana each volunteer to chaperone a study abroad trip to London. While there they are confronted with a situation with one of their students in which they have to work together and end up learning a lot more about the other.

My thoughts on this book can be described perfectly by the quote by Nicole Kraus on the cover of the book: "A charming, witty, and cerebral novel." This novel was fun, engaging, and smart. Each of the characters, despite their differences, was easily relatable. They each experience some of their own struggles, but they were great examples of strong, confident women and left me feeling empowered as a woman as well. I love when, while reading, I feel like I am cheering on the characters. These are some of the wonderful things about women’s literature and are also discussed in the book; Rachel and Diana get into heated debates about the merits of popular women’s fiction and these are some of the arguments Rachel gives. These discussions also piqued my interest in the subject and reinforced my desire to take a class in literature.

For those who enjoy popular women’s fiction, Jane Austen, books about colleges or professors, or even just discussions about books in general, this novel is a gem. The plot was well paced and continuously moved forward, engaging the reader throughout. The setting is the same as in Rendell’s first novel, The Professor’s Wives’ Club, and a couple characters from that book are mentioned in passing, but this is a stand-alone novel.

I am very thankful to the author, Joanne Rendell, for sending me a copy of the book to review. This was after I had already planned on purchasing the book anyway (which I will still do to proffer my support) and did not affect my review. (Just to put that out there!) Joanne will also be here for an interview very soon so stay tuned for that! Oh, also check out her website and www.joannerendell.com. She has posted some posts on her blog about the issure regarding popular women's fiction not being respected as literature and has linked to other articles about this as well.



GIVEAWAY!!

One more thing! Joanne has been kind enough to provide me with an extra autographed copy of her book (being released September 1, 2009) to give away to one lucky reader!!

To earn an entry just leave a comment with an e-mail where I can reach you.

Extra Entries (optional)
+1 if you become a follower of this blog
+2 if you are already a follower of this blog
+1 if you blog about this giveaway
+1 if you follow me on twitter

Residents of U.S. and Canada only
Giveaway will go through September 14, 2009

24 comments:

Krista said...

Great review! It's always nice when we enjoy oursevles while reading! Love this cover, by the way!

sumanam said...

I like these kind of books. where women dominate the storyline... good review.

Jennifer said...

This novel sounds like a delightful read! Thank you and the author for offering this wonderful chance to win.
knittingmomof3(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Jennifer said...

I am a follower. :)
knittingmomof3(AT)gmail(DOT)com

Jennifer said...

I follow you on Twitter (knittingmomof3)
knittingmomof3(AT)gmail(DOT)com

okbolover said...

great review. Although it's not my kind of book I'm tempted to look for it and read it. It sounds good. Gahhhh fine, I'll enter your contest. I could not resist temptation. :D

sensitivemuse at gmail dot com

also following you through twitter via sensitivemuse.

Somewhere In Between said...

I adore the cover of this book! It sounds phenomenal, I can't wait to read it!!

somewhereinbetweenblog (at) gmail (dot) com

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This sounds like a great book! I would love to enter the contest. My e-mail is chezraine@yahoo.com

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

For another entry: I am already a follower of your blog.

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I just posted about your contest here:

http://embracethewhirlwind.wordpress.com/contests/friends-contests/

Creations by Laurel-Rain Snow said...

I just clicked to "follow" you on Twitter. My twitter ID is laurelrainsnow.

Wanda said...

I would love to be entered in your draw. Thanks.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Wanda said...

I just became a follower of your blog.
wandanamgreb (at) gmail (dot) com

Jennifer said...

Looks good, Jenny! Thanks for the great review!

I am already a follower!

js1997(at)gmail(dot)com
PBS ID: js1997

Jenny said...

I love the cover too!

BUSY BEE said...

I would love to win this book. Enter me please.

bsyb100 at gmail dot com

xfallinstar7 said...

i love books about college/professors, count me in
andie.v107(at)yahoo(dot)com

passionatebooklover said...

Thanks for this review! I think it's definitely a book that I would like!

teabird said...

I'd love to read this! I just became a follower -
thanks!

teabird17 AT yahoo dot com

Marie said...

Sounds like a great read!

I am a follower.

marielay@gmail.com

Pam said...

I certainly don't want to be left out of this one!

melacan at hotmail dot com

Emma said...

Crossing Washington Square sounds wonderful.Please enter me in the giveaway.augustlily06(at)aim(dot)com.Thank you.

Amy said...

Please enter me into the giveaway ... the novel sounds wonderful!

I'm a follower of your blog, and I now follow you on Twitter.

amymelniczenko (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Alayne said...

Oooh I definitely want in on the giveaway of this one! My email is thecrowdedleaf(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks!
Alayne (thecrowdedleaf.wordpress.com)

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