Wendy Holden, author of Farm Fatale, takes on the world of publishing in her fourth novel, Gossip Hound. Gossip Hound introduces us to two women who could not be any more different: Grace is hard-working and kind, while Belinda is the heartless go-getter who will do anything to achieve her dream of being a star reporter. Grace works for small publishing house, Hatto & Hatto, which has a track record of representing obscure and quirky authors, and has recently discovered that her boyfriend Sion has been cheating on her. Getting her life back together involves trying to promote author Henry Moon, whom she believes has great talent, and trying to avoid the matchmaking efforts of her famous mother. Belinda is author of the weekly "Tea Break," a fluff piece about B-list celebrities in the local paper. Her real interest, however, is to report on the big stars, and she’ll do anything, including sabotaging her co-workers, to get it. The two women are on a collision course that involves a "spiritually awakened" bimbo, one of the hottest (and horniest) actors in the world, and a book about "non-specific amphibians" that are trying to take over the world.
Gossip Hound is like Bridget Jones with a bite. Holden is just as funny as Bridget author Helen Fielding, but her satirical edge will be more satisfying for those who want a little substance with our fluff. Holden casts her novel with ridiculous authors who sport last names such as "Goodtrouser" and "Thongsbridge" along with a host of real authors who most readers will recognize. She also takes liberties with novel names, introducing such winners as Sucking Stones and Shooting Up.
Holden falters in only a couple of areas. Her Grace and Belinda characters are a bit too Good vs. Evil, with Grace rarely acting out and Belinda completely devoid of a single desirable quality. Holden’s storyline progression is also crystal clear to readers from the very beginning, yet Grace is completely shocked by events that we see coming from a mile away. However, these are only small missteps that do little to take away from the wickedly funny events and Holden’s vibrant prose.
Gossip Hound is perfect for those readers who want a good love story, witty writing and a delicious plot. Grace’s winning attitude will have readers rooting for her and wishing bodily harm upon Belinda. Any author who can inspire those emotions certainly deserves a read.