Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Monday, May 5, 2014

The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson (Author Guest Post / Book Review)

In association with Premier Virtual Author Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased to host the virtual book tour event for The Idea of Him by Author Holly Peterson!

Author Guest Post

Writing novels is really no different from birthing children. We plan, we create, we add equal parts pain and anguish and excitement, and when it comes out…each one is miraculously unique. My new book, The Idea of Him, was very different from my first novel in that the story was harder to tell. This new book is much more poignant, not better, but a deeper emotional study. 

Like one of those rocket style, delivery stories with panicked nurses and no time for anesthesia, my first novel, The Manny, came out quickly, written in the wee hours night. It flowed out of me every evening in six months record time after my family went to sleep. I couldn’t write as fast as my mind was spinning out the pages. 

I wrote this second novel during a time of change in my life. I wasn’t as busy logistically this time: I wasn’t keeping vigil at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital for an ill family member, working at a demanding (and failing) magazine, or arguing with plumbers over tile with a tortured renovation as I was during the time I wrote The Manny…but during the writing of The Idea of Him, I was busier inside. By that I mean, I was changing inside…busily changing…sometimes manic-ly changing. The only thing that calmed me down during this period was my newfound, (yes at age 42!), love of surfing and the healing powers of the ocean’s saltwater. 

In the past five years, I got divorced, adapted to that (kind of), helped my children function in a new family structure and all the while tried to figure out what propels people to love, to stay in relationships, to convince themselves this is the one, or, harder, to admit to themselves this actually wasn’t the one

I asked myself often, “What is love?” Is it a partnership that really works in tandem as I definitely had with my former husband? Was that real love or was that a really good pairing of two like-minded people with shared values and ability to get things done they as a team? Sounds a little dry, but, honestly, maybe it was. Maybe my marriage was more of an amazing partnership than real love. I love a lot about my former husband and admire him immensely but I’m not sure it was the right kind of love or we would have stayed together. 

So what is real love? Is it the desire to go to every movie, play, museum, summer BBQ event, restaurant, and outdoor walk anywhere with that person? Or, put more simply, is it the feeling that you want to, that you must, share everything with that person? That’s how I feel about the man I’m dating now who was my close friend for years before, but, then again, I also feel that about my gay best friend Peter. Is wanting to share every great experience the definition of true love if I feel the same need with Peter? 

And what about when things don’t work out? Why don’t they? Is it because something about the union was never there we thought was there? 

That’s what I wanted to write a book about this time. 

How we fall for the idea of another person and what that person will bring to us…a sense of being cool, comfort, a reminder of Daddy, whatever…and then when we dive into a relationship with that person, something’s missing. Is something missing because fell for an idea over the actual person? 

Sounds crazy but I did that several times and every time I mention the title of my book, the person across from me says, “Oh God, I did that too.” The cool rebel guy in college with long hair, the Frenchman with that accent and manners whom I think I fell for only because of the way my cheek felt on his soft cashmere blazer, the responsible, good on paper, Daddy replica. Those men were ideas of what I thought I should have…but not necessarily the men I related to or felt any intimacy with. 

Once we are in a relationship, and we don’t feel it’s quite right, why do we stay? What about BEING ALONE is so damn terrifying to men and women alike that they’d rather stay with the wrong person? I wanted to write about that universal fear as well. 

I tried to write a book about things that people really feel. Good things and scary things. That first brush with love, that longing for the one that got away, that angst over the hot person we wish we never met, that confusion over whether we are in the right relationship, and that very scary fear of leaving and being on our own. 

When we end a relationship or get divorced, we have to face that fear head on. What we do with that fear will define big choices with huge ramifications in our lives. Some of us run to the next man because we can’t imagine life on our own…but I can assure you those Saturday nights alone with corn flakes are blissful. We all deserve some time to think and reflect on our own terms after a hard week of work, whatever kind of work we women do -- whether it’s stay-at-home or out of the home or both. We have such intense fear of those Saturday nights or of being without a man, and I say, having been on the other side of that “alone” precipice, it’s just fine, you’ll see…another mate will come in time but give yourself some breathing space to decide what you want next. 

This is all to say that writing a novel is like birthing a child, but, for me, it also included a deep process of coming to terms with things. I was very busy figuring out my feelings in the past five years while I still worked and mothered my three children very intensely. And while all writers say this or that character is not me; we do put our own emotions and reactions and experiences on the page in some form. 

Allie Crawford, the main character in my novel, is trying to leave a marriage and she finds that precipice of being on her own terrifying. She clings to other men, maybe Mr. Right, maybe Mr. Wrong, in the form of a male life raft to “save” her. Through female friendship with an unlikely ally, she learns to trust and relish herself. 

That’s what I wanted to write about in this book: a woman who has so many fears about being on her own that she can’t stop and appreciate the gifts around her that will fulfill her no matter what turns her love life takes. 

Too many of us forget ourselves and how grateful we are for our children, our work, our passions, our families, our friends and we stress over some guy who isn’t even worth it in the end. I wanted to write about breaking free of those obsessions and fears and learning instead to relish oneself…a message so many women out there need to hear. Birthing a novel about all that wasn’t easy, but I think you’ll find very, very real.

About The Author

Holly Peterson is the author of the New York Times and international best seller, The Manny. She was a Contributing Editor for Newsweek and editor-at-large for Tina Brown's Talk magazine. She was also an Emmy Award-winning producer for ABC News for more than a decade, where she cov­ered global politics. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, Talk, the Daily BeastVogue, Harper's Bazaar, and other publications.


Book Review

The Idea of Him by Holly Peterson
Publisher: William Morrow & Co. / HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: April 1, 2014
Format: Paperback - 384 pages
            Kindle - 799 KB
            Nook - 812 KB
ISBN: 0062283103
Genre: Contemporary Women's Fiction

BUY THE BOOK: The Idea of Him

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Premier Virtual Author Book Tours.

Book Description: 

In the fabulous and intrigue-packed new novel from Holly Peterson, the New York Times bestselling author of THE MANNY, THE IDEA OF HIM explores the dangers of falling for the idea of a person, and why facing reality is more liberating than we ever dreamed it could be. For anyone who's let the fear of being alone keep them from seeing who someone really is, THE IDEA OF HIM is an inspiring, action-packed story of what happens when we embrace our own power and allow the truth to finally set us free.

Allie Crawford has the life she always dreamed of-she's number two at a high-profile P.R. firm; she has two kids she adores; and her husband is a blend of handsome and heroic. Wade is everything she thought a man was supposed to be-he's running a successful newsmagazine and, best of all, he provides the stable yet exciting New York City life Allie believes she needs in order to feel secure and happy.

But when Allie finds Wade locked in their laundry room with a stunning blonde in snakeskin sandals, a scandal ensues that flips her life on its head. And when the woman wants to befriend Allie, an old flame calls, and a new guy gets a little too close for comfort, she starts to think her marriage is more of a facade than something real. Maybe she's fallen in love not with Wade-but with the idea of him.

Captivating and seductive, told in the whip-smart voice of a woman who is working hard to keep her parenting and career on track, The Idea of Him is a novel of conspiracy, intrigue, and intense passion-and discovering your greatest strength through your deepest fears.

Advance Praise for The Idea of Him:

"The Idea of Him is a coming-of-age book for grown ups. It's fast-paced and intriguing, glamorous and real -- not only a great, great read but a tutorial in how to be your own best friend."- Elin Hilderbrand, author of BEAUTIFUL DAY

"Holly Peterson has written a gripping, sophisticated story of high life suspense that kept me riveted till I'd finished. The Idea of Him is hugely enjoyable and vividly satisfying."- Tina Brown of Tina Brown Live Media

"Holly Peterson's THE IDEA OF HIM is the perfect novel if you want to plunge into great dialogue, a twisting and unexpected plot, shady Wall Street schemes, betrayal, girl friends.. and sex. It is unputdownable."- Lesley Stahl, CBS News 60 Minutes Anchor

"THE IDEA OF HIM takes off like a rocket and doesn't stop until the last page. In this day and age where we are all so distracted, I relished a book that held my attention with laser focus on sexy topics that we all relate to: why we obsess over love, why we can't leave when we should, and how we find our strength through friendship and characters we can't help but adore. "- Katie Lee, TV Host, The Kitchen and Author of Groundswell

"The Idea of Him is a deeply intriguing book filled with hilarious social satire and sexy longing. This book explores falling in love with the idea of someone rather than the person themselves...and how we cope with reality once we wake up!"-Kelly Bensimon, Author and Television Personality

Media Praise: 

Book Excerpt:

Chapter 1 

Memory Lane

The taxi driver took off down Seventh Avenue as if he’d just mainlined a pound of crystal meth. This guy was on a kamikaze mission, reckless even by New York standards where taxi drivers charge down the streets with no regard for their passengers’ lives. “Slow down, sir, please!” I yelled through the opening in the glass partition as I contemplated ditching this driver at the next corner.

He slammed on his brakes. “Okay, lady! I’ll slow it down a little. Yeah.” But when the light turned green, he began weaving between cars and playing chicken to blow past the giant city buses. We brushed a bike messenger who retaliated with a fisted punch on the trunk. I again waffled about getting out, but it was that bustling time of early rush hour just before the taxi shift change, when I wouldn’t be able to get another, so I stayed put and latched my seat belt. Besides, my kids were waiting for me at home, and I was already half an hour late leaving the office.

I sat strapped in the ratty backseat, tossed back and forth down the length of Manhattan’s Seventh Avenue like a Ping- Pong ball.

This car is going to crash.

The lethal night of the plane accident came back to me in waves, starting with the instinctual pangs telling me not to step up from the tarmac onto the slippery, rickety staircase of the little six- seater. This plane is not made for all this stormy snow, I had said to myself that night. And I was right.

So much of my life had gone according to plan since then, much of it mapped out in a two- decades’- long fit to fix wrongs— the most evil happening on the eve of my sixteenth birthday that winter night, eighteen years and four months ago.

My Book Review:

In The Idea of Him, author Holly Peterson weaves a fascinating tale that delves into the intricacies of relationships. The story is full of intrigue, mystery, and dark twists and turns that provides the reader with much food for thought about their own relationships.

The reader is easily drawn into Allie Crawford's life as she discovers the reality that maybe her relationship with her husband wasn't what she had thought it had been, that perhaps she has been in love with the idea of love rather than in love with him. As disturbing realities about her life come to light and secrets are revealed about the people closest to her, Allie embarks on a journey of self-discovery that will teach her that she could get control her life, stand on her own, conquer her fears, and live the life that she truly wants to live.

I loved that the author addresses a social issue that women around the world can relate to: the idea of love and marriage ... and how as young girls we grow up with the dream of finding the perfect man, marrying him, and living the happily ever after life that fairytales claim can come true. Then adulthood and reality set in when the struggles of everyday life is anything but a fairytale.

The reader follows Allie as she struggles through her daily life, trying to stand on her own two feet, and find her own way in life through her choices and decisions. The Idea of Him is a riveting multi-layered story with a complex cast of characters; dramatic dialogue and interactions; intriguing dark secrets and betrayals; intricate twists and turns; and one woman's journey of self-discovery and realization of the difference between falling in love with love and falling in love with the person.


Virtual Book Tour Schedule

Tour Schedule:

Teddy Rose Book Reviews Plus Apr 3 Spotlight & Giveaway
Manic Mama of 2 Apr 4 Review (Postponed)
Suko’s Notebook Apr 7 Guest Post & Giveaway
Housewife Blues & Chihuahua Apr 9 Guest Post
JeanzBookReadNReview Apr 11 Interview
My Life. One Story at a Time Apr 14 Guest Post & Giveaway
My Life. One Story at a Time Apr 15 Review
Vicky Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 15 Review
Vicky Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 16 Guest Post
Romance & Inspiration Apr 17 Review
Vicky Deal Sharing Aunt Apr 19 Giveaway
Books, Books, & More Books Apr 21 Review
Open Book Society Apr 22 Review & Giveaway
A Bookish Girl Apr 23 Review
A Casual Reader’s Blog Apr 25 Review & Giveaway
Books à la Mode Apr 28 Guest Post & Giveaway
Books and Bindings Apr 29 Review (postponed)
Genuine Jenn Apr 30 Review
Mina’s Bookshelf May 1 Review
Jersey Girl Book Reviews May 5 Review & Guest Post
Historical Fiction Obsession May 6 Review
Back Porchervations May 7 Review
Mina’s Bookshelf May 7 Interview
CelticLady’s Reviews May 8 Review
Cassandra M’s Place May 9 Review
From the TBR Pile May 9 Review
Giveaways & Glitter May 12 Review
Minnesota Girl in the World May 13 Review
Book Fan May 14 Review & Giveaway
Crystal’s Many Reviewers May 15 Review
Bumbles and Fairy-Tales May 15 Review
Every Free Chance May 16 Review
Room With Books May 16 Interview
Book Dilettante May 19 Review
As I Turn the Pages May 20 Review
Bound 4 Escape May 21 Review
Chic in Toronto May 22 Review


  1. Thaks for taking part in the tour and hosting Holly. I'm so glad you enjoyed 'The Idea of Him'.

    1. Hi Teddy! Thank you for the opportunity to host the virtual book tour event. This was an intriguing women's fiction novel. :)