Book Review: 'Thief of Words' steals the heart with engaging hook
It's a common theme: Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, and then the question becomes: How does the boy win her back? In this first novel by John Jaffe, the hook is how a modern romance is played out with e-mail and exes c...
It's a common theme: Boy meets girl, boy and girl fall in love, boy loses girl, and then the question becomes: How does the boy win her back?
In this first novel by John Jaffe, the hook is how a modern romance is played out with e-mail and exes coming between careers and choices.
Writers Jack DePaul and Annie Hollerman are set up on a blind date by a mutual friend who thinks they both deserve a second chance at love.
"What Jack and Annie brought with them to lunch was not uncommon: broken marriages, haunting mistakes, roads not taken. But they also brought assuredness. When you're 25 you know what you want; when you're 45 you know what you need."
If "Thief of Words" was a movie, it would be billed as a romantic comedy, but it's more than that. The internal struggle of two writers who meet and fall in love is witty and engaging.
Readers instantly care about the characters and can identify with that first flush of new love, made even more serendipitous since it's their second time around.
"Thief of Words" is a timely tale since it deals with newspaper journalism and the temptation of plagiarism.
It's also about Jack taking Annie's bad memories and rewriting them, seducing her through cyberspace.
The first one is particularly vivid -- Annie and her first husband had missed a world famous flamenco dancer on their vacation to Spain.
Jack takes that memory and writes himself into it, with Annie appearing at his table to share the experience of the dancer's performance.
"She danced several numbers. She was mesmerizing, gut-wrenching. Magic. The harsh stage lights erased everything but the boldest shadows, colors and shapes. It was like seeing a Picasso painting dance."
Other scenes from the book will linger with the reader long after the reading. Who can forget an image of Annie and her mother singing a made-up song, "Plagiarism," to the tune of the Toreador song from "Carmen" to help dispel the weight of her shame?
And what words will Jack use when he finds out Annie was fired from her job at a newspaper for plagiarism? What words will win her back?
Readers may reach Forum reviewer Gail Gabrielson at (701) 241-5536.