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Monday, June 29, 2009

The Actor and the Housewife by Shannon Hale

The Actor and the Housewife: A Novel
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
ISBN: 1608192555
Pages: 352 pgs
Genre: Romance/Contemporary
Challenges-Read’n’Review Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge

Publisher's Description:

What if you were to meet the number-one person on your laminated list—you know, that list you joke about with your significant other about which five celebrities you’d be allowed to run off with if ever given the chance? And of course since it’ll never happen it doesn’t matter…

Mormon housewife Becky Jack is seven months pregnant with her fourth child when she meets celebrity hearththrob Felix Callahan. Twelve hours, one elevator ride, and one alcohol-free dinner later, something has happened…though nothing has happened. It isn’t sexual. It isn’t even quite love. But a month later Felix shows up in Salt Lake City to visit and before they know what’s hit them, Felix and Becky are best friends. Really. Becky’s husband is pretty cool about it. Her children roll their eyes. Her neighbors gossip endlessly. But Felix and Becky have something special…something unusual, something completely impossible to sustain. Or is it? A magical story, The Actor and the Housewife explores what could happen when your not-so-secret celebrity crush walks right into real life and changes everything.

My Review:

Usually when I read a book, I have to place an actor in the role of the male main character. I was tempted to put Colin Firth in the place of Felix but it didn’t seem right to me. Felix was too chipper. I think Hugh Grant would be better. Now that that is settled, on with the review.

I was really excited about The Actor and the Housewife. Shannon Hale is one of my favorite authors and Austenland is one of my favorite Austen-esque novels. I was expecting The Actor and the Housewife to blow me away and it kinda sorta did. It was not what I expected it to be but what it was surprised me, intrigued me and gripped me all in the same breath. I expected this to be a typical nice women-married to a cad-meets nice man-marries him type of book. I was pleasantly surprised.

Becky and Felix were such great characters and their friendship was surprisingly natural and endearing.  Felix was not the typical spoiled actor that I was expecting. You expect a character that is rich and famous to have that arrogant and demanding personality that actors are famous for but he didn’t.  He had a heart and soul even if he was a bit spoiled. I had an initial disconnect with Becky. She seemed too nice. I thought she would be a quiet little character. One that would annoy me because of her meekness. Oh boy was I wrong. She is whip smart, sarcastic and funny.  Her on and off friendship with Felix was great. They play off each other in a way that reminds me of my friendships with some of my guy friends. Their banter is witty and funny at times and touching and tear-inducing at others.  Becky’s relationship with her husband, Mike,  is, perhaps, my favorite part of the novel. They were so sweet together. It is also what changed my mind about whether or not I wanted Felix and Becky to end up together.

The friendship between Becky and Felix could have,  in the hands of a lesser writer, seemed forced. Hale manages to pull off an extraordinarily unlikely friendship in an organic and easy to believe manner. I was surprised at how natural their friendship seemed. They were almost like soul mates without the mating. The only time I felt that the story slipped a little and lost me a little was when Becky and Felix star in a movie, that Becky wrote, together. It seemed a bit unrealistic but then again, friendship with a famous actor is not very realistic either. This was definitely not a big downside because it did end up working well within the plot.

The Actor and the Housewife is a great read. The ending definitely surprised me. I am actually a bit torn about it. Part of me likes the way the novel ended but this other part of me, the more sentimental and romantic side, wants a sequel…badly.
*A copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher for review. My opinion is my own and has not been influenced in any way and any monies made from associate or affiliate accounts are recycled back into the blog.


  1. Grace,
    Great review -- I am really looking forward to reading this book. Like you, I absolutely loved Austenland.

  2. [...] Howe 26.The Unit-Ninni Holmqvist 27.The Lie-Fredrica Wagman 28. A Gentle Rain-Deborah Smith 29.The Actor and the Housewife-Shannon Hale 30. Womenomics-Katty Kay and Claire Shipman 31. My Lord John-Georgette Heyer [...]

  3. I'm looking forward to this one too. I am finally going to get to Austenland. It keeps getting shuffled to the bottom, but not more! Now the decision is to read it or listen to it????



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