Two Reviews: From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein & November Road by Lou Berney

From the Corner of the Oval by Beck Dorey-Stein

Publication Date: July 10th, 2018

Rating: 5 Stars

Recently, the New York Times described this book as being “equal parts C-Span and Sex in the City,” and while I’ve been trying to put this review out of my head I can’t honestly think of a more fitting description for this book (I guess that’s why they get paid the big bucks to be NY Times writers). I picked up this book on a whim looking to inject some non-fiction in my recent reading streak and while I often describe myself as an unlucky person, luck was on my side the day I chose to read this one.

Author, Beck Dorey-Stein, begins this memoir as a 20-something D.C. graduate fighting to find a job in a sea of sharks. She effortlessly humors the readers as she describes the HORRID scene that is networking in D.C. Fast forward in her frantic search for jobs as she applies to a Craigslist Stenographer position that lands her in the Obama White House. As if this isn’t cool enough she spends the rest of this read describing her illicit tryst with a fellow staffer, White House travelling experiences and personal encounters with President Obama.

It is no surprise this book quickly climbed the ranks to bestseller. Obama fan or not this was an enthralling read. Although, in full transparency, while this is by no means a “political” read Dorey-Stein does fan-girl A LOT towards Obama & Co.

Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided by LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.


November Road by Lou Berney

Publication Date: October 9th, 2018

Rating: 2.45 Stars

Described as being “set against the assassination of JFK,” I was expecting more of a historical fiction within the pages of this book. However, I quickly discovered this was not the premise of November Road, but rather happens to be the period in which this book takes place.

Frank is a “gangster” tasked with parking a stolen car in a Dallas Parking Lot, after the assassination of JFK he quickly realizes his role and begins life on the run from his mob boss, Carlos Marcello. Charlotte is a wife and mother of two. One night, she decides to leave her alcoholic husband and hits the road. Frank and Charlotte cross paths as the story of love in unlikely places unfolds.

Had the stage not been set for a JFK assassination/mob type book I may have been more receptive to the budding romance within. But, the writing felt forced as Berney injected colorful characters in an attempt to continually remind the reader of the mob influence and foundation of Frank’s story. Conversely, despite Charlotte’s emotionally grabbing backstory, she failed to resonate with me and quickly became an unlikeable character creation.

Just be warned as you embark on reading this novel (should you chose to read it) that it is not a JFK assassination conspiracy, but rather an unexpected romance in the midst of escape.

*Disclaimer: A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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