Tuesday, December 11, 2012

REVIEW: The Seeds of a Daisy / Alison Caiola

TITLE: The Seeds of a Daisy 
AUTHOR: Alison Caiola 
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
AVAILABILITY: Createspace (paperback), Amazon US (paperback), Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book), Barnes & Noble (Nook e-book), iTunes (find it in the iTunes store)

Recommended for readers seeking character-driven dramas.

Drama—Women’s Fiction

The Seeds of a Daisy is the story of a young woman dealing with emotional turmoil following her mother’s devastating car accident. This novel is full of raw emotion and high drama, set against the backdrop of Hollywood politics.

Let’s just say I devoured this one. I started reading during lunch and finished by mid-afternoon. Caiola’s conversational style and flair for drama make this novel a suspenseful and absorbing read.

First person present. The book opens with Lily Lockwood, a successful TV actress, in the hospital following her mother’s accident. As she comes to grips with the tragedy, she reflects on her past, and much of the book consists of her flashbacks.

From a distance, Lily Lockwood has it all. She’s the star of a popular and acclaimed TV series with a handsome boyfriend poised to become a big time Hollywood leading man. But in her own eyes, her life is unraveling. That boyfriend, Jamie, is cheating on her with his costar on a film set miles away, and Lily’s mother, Daisy, is comatose following a devastating car accident.

The Seeds of a Daisy opens with Lily by Daisy’s side in the hospital, begging her to return to the realm of the conscious. As she waits for news from the doctors, she reflects on her life and relationship with her mother, who raised Lily alone and guided her through the mad world of Hollywood. When Lily goes through Daisy’s possessions in search of a living will, she discovers things about her mother’s past that she could never have dreamed of, things that reveal the woman behind the tough-cookie career queen Daisy the bestselling author was known as.

Caiola writes with a natural, conversational style that brings Lily’s voice to life. The realistic dialogue and easy, fluid prose carry the story forward in a way that makes the pages turn themselves. The reader is privy to all of Lily’s thoughts and raw emotions as she faces the madness her life has become—her grief, her anger, her hope, and then some. Each moment is a suspenseful one for Lily as she waits for news from the doctors and comes to grips with reality, and that suspense carries over to the audience, making this book an unexpectedly fast-paced page-turner. Although the story is told from Lily’s point of view, The Seeds of a Daisy, as the title implies, is as much about Daisy—her effect on Lily and the world around her. Lily spends much of the book reflecting on her somewhat codependent relationship with her mother and learning to stand on her own and take charge of her life.

Behind the mother-daughter drama is a colorful supporting cast and a fascinating glimpse of Hollywood politics. While the reader sees Lily as a vulnerable young woman, the rest of the world views her as a celebrity to be gossiped about. Paparazzi mob her in the hospital lobby, trying to get a snapshot of her distraught face for the tabloids. So when Jamie flies back to be with her, is he actually trying to comfort her, or is this another publicity stunt? Meanwhile, Daisy’s longtime friends flock to Lily’s side out of genuine concern.

Also, I must note that this book seems incredibly well-researched on the hospital drama front. The medical jargon and explanations—dry and impenetrable to both the reader and Lily—add to the story’s realistic atmosphere. Although the book’s set-up, with the Emmy’s and the paparazzi hovering in the background, may seem glamorized, the story itself is very down-to-earth. Lily may not be the most eloquent speaker, but her words ring true even though she sometimes seems to have trouble expressing her emotional frenzy.

I didn’t mean to read The Seeds of a Daisy in one sitting, but I ended up getting so absorbed in the drama and the characters that I couldn’t put it down. Entertaining, gripping, and sometimes tear-jerking, it’s the kind of book that’s easy to get lost in.

I received an advance copy of this novel, which has since been edited, so I can’t comment on typos and the like.

This novel contains a handful of mild sex scenes and some adult language.

[from the back cover]
Alison Caiola's many years in Hollywood, first as a PR Executive and then as a writer, makes her qualified to write about the entertainment industry and the behind-the-scenes craziness that ofte it often spawns.

Like Daisy, the mother in The Seeds of a Daisy, her son JD Daniels is a successful and award-winning actor. Alison recently wrote, directed, and produced the television series The Tyme Chronicles. She currently resides on the beautiful North Fork of Long Island with her Malti-Poo daughter-dog Emma, surrounded by vineyards, farms, and wonderful friends.

1 comment:

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