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Laura Rider's Masterpiece

2.61 of 5 stars 2.61  ·  rating details  ·  1,119 ratings  ·  292 reviews
The bestselling author of A Map of the World and The Book of Ruth serves up an entirely different kind of novel: Le Divorce meets The Love Letter.

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, t
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Published April 7th 2009 by HarperAudio (first published February 25th 2009)
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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
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
I could not get into this book even after a couple of chapters. I actually returned it to the bookstore.
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
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
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.
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.

"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
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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2009 Robin rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  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
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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.
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 2 of 5 stars  ·  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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.

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

My momentum to read this has slowed somewhat.

After reading some of the reviews, I think that some readers are taking the book too seriously. It is meant to be a light take on adultery (isn't that an odd way of putting it) which may be the problem. Clearly Hamilton is a good writer with well crafted sentences. You can tell that by the contrast between her narration and when Laura tries her hand at composing the emails- also when Charlie composes too. Throughout the book, but especially when Jenn
You know, my gut told me Laura Rider’s Masterpiece was going to be disappointing chicklit. But I didn’t listen to my gut. Instead I listened to the voice in my head. That voice was Jane Hamilton’s, who I sew read in 2007 at The Loft. She was there as judge of the McKnight Fellowships (I think) and she gave such a great speech about writing and how even though people keep telling her to write a memoir or something other than fiction, she doesn’t because nobody realizes that those kinds of writing ...more
Once in a while I pick up a piece of contemporary literary fiction, just to keep my hand in for the purposes of reader's advisory, or to see what's out there and confirm that I'd rather be reading Fantasy & Science Fiction. Almost inevitably, as was the case with Jane Hamilton's Laura Rider's Masterpiece, I finish the book with a vague feeling of dissatisfaction. Laura Rider has been married to Charlie for twelve years, and is tired of his sexual attentions. She also aspires to writing a "co ...more
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Jane Hamilton lives, works, and writes in an orchard farmhouse in Wisconsin. Her short stories have appeared in Harper's magazine. Her first novel, The Book of Ruth, won the PEN/Ernest Hemingway Foundation Award for best first novel and was a selection of the Oprah Book Club. Her second novel, A Map of the World, was an international bestseller.
More about Jane Hamilton...
A Map of the World The Book of Ruth Disobedience When Madeline Was Young Short History of a Prince

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