Category Archives: On the Same Page

Review: On the Same Page by N.D. Galland

Title: On the Same Page by N.D. Galland
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction, Romance
Length: 320 pages
Book Rating: C

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss

Summary:

From the critically acclaimed author of Stepdog and The Fool’s Tale comes a romantic comedy that tells the story of one journalist secretly juggling two bylines for competing newspapers on a small island.

One island, two newspapers, and the reporter who played them both

Johanna Howes is a Martha’s Vineyard native who left the Island at 18 and moved to New York City to become a writer. Now in her 30s, she reluctantly returns to care for her cranky, injured uncle. Needing income, she freelances for one island newspaper (the one Uncle Hank likes). But that doesn’t cover her bills, so she creates an alter ego to write for the rival paper (the one Uncle Hank doesn’t like).

The Vineyard has a split personality – part elite summer resort, part working-class small town. The Island’s two papers –the Journal and the Newes – are famously at odds with each other and reflect the seasonal schism in their reporting. Everybody’s shoulder seems to have a chip on it.

Johanna gets personally ensnared in a messy situation she’s assigned to write about for both papers: a wealthy seasonal resident sues the town for the right to use his private helicopter. When Johanna agrees to a cup of coffee with the witty, handsome stranger she meets at a zoning board meeting, she has no idea she’s made a date with Orion Smith, helicopter owner. Orion, meanwhile, doesn’t realize Johanna is the niece of his political nemesis, Henry Holmes.

Johanna scrambles to keep her disparate identities separate from each other in the tiny off-season community, but everything she does just gets her into deeper trouble…and further complicates her budding romance with the exasperating charmer she’s doing her best not to fall for.

A story about the half-truths we tell ourselves – and others – especially when our hearts are on the line.

Review:

Set On Martha’s Vineyard, On the Same Page by N.D. Galland is an entertaining novel with a slight romantic element.

After graduating from high school, Joanna Howes left Martha’s Vineyard for the bright lights and anonymity of New York City. A successful freelance reporter, she returns home for a family emergency with her Uncle Hank and begins working for one of two island newspapers, the Journal. When her stay stretches much longer than anticipated, Joanna secretly starts writing articles the other paper, the Newes. Caring for her cantankerous uncle and juggling the different newspaper assignments while ensuring no one finds out the truth, Joanna’s life becomes even more complicated after meeting Orion Smith. Orion has the island up in arms with his fight to build a helipad at his estate and Joanna is reporting on the ongoing battle. She works hard to maintain her ethical standards but an unexpected attraction between her and Orion adds another complication to her life. Will the truth emerge about Joanna’s employment? Will Joanna’s and Orion’s budding romance survive once her secret is revealed?

Life in the Vineyard’s off season is quiet so finding a job is nearly impossible. Joanna fully intends to return to New York once Uncle Hank is on the mend, but she also needs some type of income. Working at the Journal is much different than her usual reporting, but with help from family friend and editor Everett, it does not take long for her to get the hang of her new (temporary) job. As Uncle Hank’s recovery suffers several setbacks, Joanna realizes she won’t be leaving any time soon. Needing more income, she feels like she has no choice but to write for the Newes.  Writing for both papers turns out to be easier than expected but Joanna is continually on edge as she waits for her secret to be exposed.

Joanna’s interactions with Orion are purely professional initially, but she is also drawn to him personally.  Their interactions are sometimes a bit tense since Joanna is a bit prickly with his outsider status. As they verbally spare with one another, Orion challenges her prejudice toward “wash-ashores” while Joanna raises his awareness of his sense of entitlement due to his wealth. Their romance is understated and does not really begin until near the end of the novel.

The setting of On the Same Page is one of the best aspects of the story and N.D. Galland brings Martha’s Vineyard vibrantly to life. Life for the year rounders is nowhere near as glamorous as the island’s wealthy visitors. It is quite interesting learning how the class disparities adversely affect the full-time residents. The cast of characters is quite quirky and eclectic but it is difficult to like Orion or Hank. Joanna has her fair share of flaws and while she makes a few mistakes and missteps, it is easy to understand the reasons for her choices. Hank is thoroughly disagreeable and unappreciative of Joanna’s help. Despite efforts to portray Orion as charming and irresistible, he is really a bully whose behavior towards Joanna is insulting and rude.

On the Same Page is a well-written novel that is somewhat slow-paced and a little predictable. Joanna is surprised by her gradual attitude change toward island life and she grows professionally through her new reporting experiences. N.D. Galland wraps up all of the story’s loose ends and the novel ends on a positive note. All in all, an enjoyable read that provides an insider’s viewpoint of life on Martha’s Vineyard.

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Filed under Contemporary, ND Galland, On the Same Page, Rated C, Review, Romance, William Morrow Paperbacks, Women's Fiction