On my kindle, you’ll find every book Jane Lythell has written. I’ve always thought I’d enjoy her writing, but I’m surprised – and ever so slightly ashamed – to find that I’ve never featured her here on Being Anne, or read and reviewed any of those books. Thank goodness for other great bloggers, eh?! So I’m particularly thrilled today to join the blog tour for her latest, Behind Her Back, to be published by Head of Zeus on 10th August. And I’m delighted to report that I loved this one…
Liz Lyon is a television producer on StoryWorld, the UK’s favourite morning show. She is also a single parent, a confidante, a team leader, and the person tasked with controlling the conflicts and tantrums that happen off-air.
Following a blissful two-week holiday in Italy with her teenage daughter, Liz has returned to work to find a new colleague has joined the team. Lori Kerwell has been brought in to boost the show’s profitability. But Liz is not sure that’s the only thing on Lori’s agenda.
As Lori builds her power base amongst the staff, Liz finds herself wondering what is really going on behind her back…
The world Liz Lyon inhabits is just fascinating – breakfast television, with its giant egos and back-stabbing internal politics. There’s a real feeling of authenticity about the way it’s portrayed – but if you take away the glitz and glamour and cameras (and treachery), this book is also a wonderful examination of the problems so many women face making their way in a cut-throat corporate world. And in common with so many working women, Liz Lyon has a whole other life to manage too – the one with parent-teacher nights at school, teenage flounces to handle, rogue builders to tackle, and the vague possibility of a personal life.
There’s a real intimacy about the way this story is told. I really liked the first person approach, because it gave me access to how Liz felt about being in the middle of the maelstrom. I found myself raging at the injustices, smiling at the tender moments, fist-pumping at her successes. And as for Lori – I was ready to commit violence with one of her brooches.
While the Storyworld context is enthralling – how can anyone remain level-headed and in control through amid all that insanity? – I’ll admit that I almost preferred the insights into Liz’s life away from the station. Her relationship with daughter Flo was beautifully and realistically drawn. I really enjoyed the detail – the cake making, the nights in front of the tv, the conversations about Divergent, the drama with the hair colour. And I liked the dating story line – the joy of a new relationship, the problems fitting it around the demanding career, the edge of danger because of his working life. And do you know what I really loved? That beaded dress, and how it made her feel.
I haven’t read Woman of the Hour – but that didn’t affect my enjoyment one bit, I just wish I’d discovered Liz Lyon rather sooner. And I really wish I’d discovered Jane Lythell’s excellent writing rather earlier too – I really enjoyed this one.
My thanks to Head of Zeus and Clare Gordon for my advance reading e-copy, and for inviting me to be part of the blog tour.
About the author
Jane Lythell lives in Brighton and is a sea-lover, star-gazer, film and football fan. After her years in television she moved to the British Film Institute as Deputy Director, did one year as Chief Executive of BAFTA (which was miserable) followed by seven years at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (which was interesting). She now writes full time.
She loves to hear from readers and you can contact her here:
Jane is also a member of The Prime Writers group.