cover image Main Character Energy

Main Character Energy

Jamie Varon. Park Row, $18.99 trade paper (300p) ISBN 978-0-7783-3420-0

At the start of self-help author Varon’s sparkling fiction debut (after Radically Content), Poppy Banks decides to give up on her dream of writing, despite promising her beloved aunt Margot, who runs an elite writer’s retreat at her villa in the South of France, that she would keep at it. Then Margot dies and leaves Poppy her villa, with the proviso that, to keep the property, she must complete a manuscript within six months. Buoyed by the fresh start, Poppy begins work on two new novels, all while bonding with the other writers in residence and falling in love with the region. Prickly Oliver Hayes, who oversaw the retreat with Margot, is at first skeptical of Poppy but soon finds he can’t resist her charms. Their budding relationship faces hurdles in the form of literary rejection and familial drama, however. Varon crafts fully realized protagonists whose authorial ambitions and frustrations will resonate with bookish readers. The plot takes many satisfying turns, and the beautiful French backdrop will appeal to armchair travelers. Varon has a promising career in fiction in front of her. Agent: Samantha Fabien, Root Literary. (Sept.)