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Book Review of The Actor and the Housewife

The Actor and the Housewife
reviewed on + 289 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1

The age-old question of whether a man and a woman can just be friends gets a deliciously whimsical twist in Shannon Hales second novel. In a follow-up to Austenland, this fantasy what-if story asks: what if hes Felix Callahan, handsome British actor with a French supermodel wife? What if shes Becky Jack, happily married Mormon housewife, mother of four, and a fan of Felixs work? Such title characters usually dont meet in real life, but when Shannon Hale asks for this suspension of disbelief, she delivers a beautiful, poignant story of love and friendship in return.

The blurb might lead you to believe it will be an escapist housewife meets her celebrity crush storyline. Instead, the fact that Felix and Becky strike up an instant friendship is as believable as the easy dialogue between them is witty. Beckys character resembles her famous zucchini bread good and wholesome, but with spunk and fiber and holds the story together. You dont begrudge that she was the lucky one who got to meet and become best mates with a celebrity heartthrob instead of yourself because you can see what about Becky captured Felixs liver (they refer to each other as such since their respective spouses represent their hearts). Rather, you grow to care about Becky and her family as she and husband Mike wrestle with the question of whether a platonic mixed gender friendship is possible.

Indeed the story progresses so seamlessly that you might not even notice the time pass as the Jack children grow up and the Becky-Felix friendship is tested by trials to both partners. Theres a lot of fun and tears along the way, but without revealing the answer to the original question, let me just say the story affirms the readers awe in the power of soul mates. Although Shannon Hale might want to establish herself as excellent author of fantasy chick lit, she does so through her talent in writing about grounded characters just authentically living life in The Actor and the Housewife.