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Laura Rider's Masterpiece

2.62  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,214 Ratings  ·  309 Reviews
Laura and Charlie Rider have been married for twelve years. They share their nursery business in rural Wisconsin, their love for their animals, and their zeal for storytelling. Although Charlie's enthusiasm in the bedroom has worn Laura out, although she no longer sleeps with him, they are happy enough going along in their routine.

Jenna Faroli is the host of a popular rad
Kindle Edition, 214 pages
Published (first published February 25th 2009)
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(showing 1-30 of 2,095)
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A fairly dull little sex comedy, in which wannabe romance novelist Laura Rider sorta kinda engineers an affair between her husband, Charlie, and Jenna Faroli, a local radio personality. Despite the possibility of some Cyrano-like shenanigans (Laura writes or co-writes many of Charlie's amorous emails to Jenna), the relationships between all three parties (um, and Jenna's husband, I suppose) remain pretty tame. Barely a thing is made of Laura's obvious attraction--whether sexual or just worshipfu ...more
Jane Hamilton, author of the emotionally wrenching "A Map of the World" and "The Book of Ruth", is trying her hand at humor this spring in this tale of two marriages and four profoundly disassociated people.

Laura and Charlie Rider are childless and the proprietors of a grand and successful plant nursery where Laura does the designs and Charlie does the hard work (including the quiet work of fixing Laura's designs). Laura is bold, bright, ambitious, completely self
centered and just as completely
Apr 18, 2009 Lisa rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I could not get into this book even after a couple of chapters. I actually returned it to the bookstore.
Sep 10, 2009 Jody rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Laura Rider’s Masterpiece is the story of Laura, an aspiring writer, her affable and henpecked husband, Charlie, and the object of their affection, local radio personality Janna Faroli. The book is described as a “full-blown comedy”, but the humor is of the driest, darkest variety. The story reads like a doomed love affair, in that we meet the three main characters and see them as shining with potential, but as they are revealed in their entirety, we see that they are in fact boring, tawdry, clu ...more
Elevate Difference
Jane Hamilton's latest novel has a delightful premise. Laura and Charlie Rider own a Midwestern landscape business, for which Laura writes a newsletter. Charlie is a fantastic lover, a man whose equal doses of femininity and masculinity make his understanding of women profound. Laura suffers from “sexual fatigue,” and after twelve years of marriage, she has decided to stop sleeping with Charlie.

Jenna Faroli, the host of Milwaukee Public Radio's Jenna Faroli Show, has recently moved to Laura and
Jan 04, 2009 Robin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: those who like quirky characters
Recommended to Robin by: ARC via Shelf Awareness
Shelves: fiction, 2009-list
What can I say? I was excited to read the ARC of Jane Hamilton's newest book because I've read her fiction before and liked it but nowadays I'm just not as intrigued by novels about infidelity. I'm just now and that's the whole premise of this book and I'm not spoiling it because it says so on the back. The characters were fully formed although I had trouble keeping Jenna, the radio personality, separate in my mind from Laura, the would-be author of a romance novel, who essentially encourages he ...more
May 01, 2009 Tracey rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Adult fiction. A woman obsessed is a dangerous thing, apparently. I'm not sure what to think about this book, actually--it's pretty strange.
Jul 31, 2009 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give this book 4 stars because it was well-written with a good dose of humor and some real depth. Not really 5 stars because although I liked the characters they never became "real" to me, in the sense that I forgot they were characters in a novel.

On the surface, the story is about a woman who, wanting to pursue her dream of being a writer, creates a situation where her husband will have an affair with another woman. She wants to use the affair and its progress as source material for her roman
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 30, 2009 Marie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

"Married for 12 years, Laura and Charlie Rider have come to share almost everything: their nursery business, their love for their animals, and, most especially, their zeal for storytelling. And though they no longer share a bed, they are happy enough continuing along in their pleasant, platonic routine. Then Charlie begins an email exchange in earnest with Jenna Faroli, the host of a popular radio show, and, according to Laura, "the single most famous person in the town." Seeing her op
Aug 01, 2010 Joseph rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I feel guilty about being too critical, but the word "masterpiece" has no place being used anywhere in reference to this book. Perhaps it is intended to come off as trashy, as some sort of commentary on the romance novel Laura hopes to write, but that intention is swallowed up beyond any hope of ironic redemption.

Foremost among the book's sins is that Hamilton seems to have no idea how people talk. Consider the first conversation in the book, between Laura and Jenna, which is little more than a
Jun 29, 2009 Lori rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009june
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 06, 2009 Sandy rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vera at LuxuryReading.Com
Laura and Charlie Rider own and run Prairie Wind Farm in rural Wisconsin, with Laura ruling and delegating, and Charlie obliging along. While she is planting and pruning, Laura Rider listens to Jenna Faroli of the famous Jenna Faroli Radio Show and dreams of writing a romance novel. She envisions Jenna simultaneously as a teacher, a confidante, and the heroine of her book. Charlie 19s chance encounter with Jenna on the side of the road is the turning point, and Laura sees it as a chance to under ...more
May 04, 2009 Kit rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm. I'm having trouble getting past the first chapter. This is like a bad stereotype of a small midwestern town and its people -- doesn't ring true to me at all. One cheap shot after another.

[LATER:] OK, I officially give up. Hamilton's depiction of Laura Rider is cliched, as is her depiction of Jenna Whoever, but at least the Jenna Whoever character seems less of a mean cliche. You can see Hamilton working in this, and it ain't pretty. Maybe I should have kept going, but.... I didn't.
Della Scott
This is probably my least favorite of all Jane Hamilton books I have read so far. I had read When Madeline Was Young shortly before, and like that one considerably more.
Laura Rider and her husband Charles run a successful plant business in a small Wisconsin town. Laura becomes fixated on Jenna Faroli, an NPR talk show hostess who happens to live there. I found much of the plot developments less than credible and Jenna was the only character who seemed well-drawn. The men certainly weren't. Jenn
Apr 26, 2009 Michael rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jane Hamilton's satirical take on romance is a curiously, fun examination of relationships, sex, writing, and even the cult of personality. When Laura Rider manipulates her husband Charlie, and national talk show host Jenna Faroli into a relationship so she can study the progression for the romance novel she wants to write, she has no idea what she's getting into. This book is a delightful paradox, romance and literary examination rolled into one.
Aug 22, 2010 Joni rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I was very disappointed in this book. The characters were never appealing to me. The story was not interesting until the very end of Disk 4 out of 5. Then the story tanked...I have no idea what Jane was thinking when she wrote this book. There just seemed to be something major missing from it...the ending was kind of just there...I did not even think the book had ended!! What a shame.
Morninglight Mama
Jan 23, 2016 Morninglight Mama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
So, I could say that this was a bizarre book, and that would be accurate because these characters so frequently made decisions that were undoubtedly stupid and ridiculous, yet... I really enjoyed it for it's oddness. The whole thing was a bit surreal, even when I found myself able to understand the characters' emotions or motivations. I found myself simultaneously laughing in joy and shaking my head in disbelief. These characters were absolutely unique-- and they were like open books throughout ...more
Feb 14, 2015 Lisa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The first few pages of Jane Hamilton’s new novel elicit chuckles, snorts and a couple of laughs loud enough to require explanation to others in the vicinity.
Yes, it’s a sex comedy from the same Jane Hamilton known for her weighty, complex stories of families and relationships, such as “The Book of Ruth,” “A Map of the World” and “When Madeline Was Young.”
But while “Laura Rider’s Masterpiece” is a departure in terms of tone — quick, breezy, funny — from Hamilton’s previous work, it touches on the
Aug 18, 2010 Carol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In Jane Hamilton's book Laura Rider's Masterpiece, Laura, a successful plant nursery owner in Wisconsin has decided that she wants to write a romance novel that would have "universal appeal". Laura's business is going well with the help of her husband Charlie, but she is ready for a different type of project. She hasn't had much training in writing, but she feels with the help of some books on how to write and perhaps a workshop in the Dells she will be able to succeed. Laura happens to meet Jen ...more
Dec 01, 2009 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
I enjoyed this light book but felt it had some problems. I've read other Jane Hamilton novels and her other books are not comedies, although she includes humor on occasion. Her characters include a mentally disabled woman who dreams of love and a woman who is jailed after her friend's daughter dies while in her care. Hamilton is a genius with these situations and her novels are powerful and deft--I admire her writing and I can see why she would want to take on a lighter topic. In this book, Laur ...more
Carol Moore
I thought it was funny. (Didn’t know the author & had no expectations. I thought of the book as something in the vein of Christopher Moore. I didn’t realize until just now, as I was checking the reviews, that people were let down.)

“Laura got the idea to write a romance novel starring an unspecified "Every Woman" when she heard a literary historian interviewed on a public radio program starring her idol, Jenna Faroli, who has recently moved with her husband to Laura and Charlie's small town.
Kathy (Bermudaonion)
Laura and Charlie Rider seem to have a happy, if somewhat bland, marriage. They own and operate the beautiful Prairie Wind Farm nursery in a small town in Wisconsin. Laura is the brains behind the nursery and Charlie is the muscle. Laura admires Jenny Faroli, the married host of a popular radio talk show who lives in the same small town. Laura also dreams of writing a romance novel.

When Charlie and Jenny meet in a chance encounter one evening, Laura encourages Charlie to contact Jenny, and in th
Mar 31, 2009 Nely rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Laura Rider lives with her husband, Charlie, in Hartley, Wis., where they own and run the Prairie Wind Farm. After 12 years of marriage, Laura decides to stop sleeping with Charlie, and although Charlie’s best talent is lovemaking, she has decided that she’s done with the whole "sex" thing. Upon meeting local public radio host Jenna Faroli, Laura decides that the time has come to fulfill her fantasy and write a romance novel. It just so happens that fate was on her side and there was a chance me ...more
Jul 20, 2011 Cherylann rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: feminist-themes
I finished this book a month ago and was conflicted about my feelings. So I let it sit before I wrote my review. After time passed, I realized that even though I had trouble forming a connection with the characters, there's something about Hamilton's writing and this story that has stayed with me - much the way Olive Kitteridge stayed with me. Hamilton's portrayal of middle class, middle - America read like I was looking through a scrapbook. I didn't know these people, and I had trouble connecti ...more
Ron Charles
"Laura Rider's Masterpiece" -- designed to look like a little 1950s romance novel -- is Jane Hamilton's foray into comedy, a surprising departure from her well-known "A Map of the World" and "The Book of Ruth." In this case, adultery isn't revealed to the unsuspecting wife but rather engineered by her in a misguided attempt to practice her writing skills.

While Laura Rider dreams of being a novelist, she runs a successful nursery with her husband in Wisconsin. Because they have no children and Ch
Nov 27, 2012 Philtrum rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I read this as it was highly recommended on the book-a-day calendar on my desk (which has suggested several good books over the last couple of years).

This was well outside my usual reading range.

Not sure how to describe it - literary romance?

Technically it was well written but the story was just too unbelievable for me.

Young middle-aged gardening business owner (Laura Rider) married to hunk decides (a) to never have sex again with said hunk and (b) to organise the friendship (and later sexual re
Oct 07, 2011 Jill rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This is really a one-and-a-half star kind of book, but I'm bumping it up to two because I was able to finish it. Yup, that's where I draw my line. And that should tell you something about what I really think of Laura Rider's Masterpiece.

First off, neither this book nor Laura Rider's is anything close to a masterpiece. Of course, the title was meant to be tongue-in-cheek, but if you're going to attach that kind of name to your book, you better be ready for the inevitable puns that follow.

Mar 02, 2009 Eris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was wondering how to choose what to try next in my overwhelming stack of books. Many looked good, many were probably well written - but did any of them have any SURPRISES left in them? So often I read work that may be wonderfully composed but still lacks an original insight or spark of an unseen story.

Luckily for me I picked up "Laura Rider's Masterpiece" by Jane Hamilton. Though never a fan of romance, this is what I would call the true face of romance blown up to highlight both its most beau

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Jane Hamilton is the author most recently of The Excellent Lombards and The Book of Ruth, winner of the PEN/Hemingway Award for first fiction, as well as A Map of the World, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and named one of the top ten books of the year by Entertainment Weekly, Publishers Weekly, the Miami Herald, and People. Both The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World have been select ...more
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