Publication Date: November 28, 2023
From the USA Today-bestselling author of Beautiful Little Fools, Jillian Cantor’s The Fiction Writer follows a writer hired by a handsome billionaire to write about his family history with Daphne du Maurier and finds herself drawn into a tangled web of obsession, marital secrets, and stolen manuscripts.
The once-rising literary star Olivia Fitzgerald is down on her luck. Her most recent novel—a retelling of Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca—was a flop, her boyfriend of nine years just dumped her and she’s battling a bad case of writer’s block. So when her agent calls her with a high-paying ghostwriting opportunity, Olivia is all too willing to sign the NDA.
At first, the write-for-hire job seems too good to be true. All she has to do is interview Henry “Ash” Asherwood, a reclusive mega billionaire, twice named People’s Sexiest Man Alive, who wants her help in writing a book that reveals a shocking secret about his late grandmother and Daphne du Maurier. But when Olivia arrives at his Malibu estate, nothing is as it seems. The more Olivia digs into his grandmother’s past, the more questions she has—and before she knows it, she’s trapped in a gothic mystery of her own.
With as many twists and turns as the California coast, The Fiction Writer is a page-turner that explores the boundaries of creative freedom and whose stories we have the right to tell.
Suspenseful. Mysterious. Intriguing. All great words, but none aptly describe the exciting mystery, The Fiction Writer, by Jillian Cantor. From the haunting prologue to its concluding pages, the story never lets up as the characters continue to grow, and the mystery deepens until the reader is left hanging in perpetual suspense from the Malibu cliff upon which the story centers.
Olivia Fitzgerald is a writer, a fiction writer. Her first book saw moderate success, while her second book, Becky, not so much. When an opportunity for an assignment as a ghostwriter for a significant sum comes along, Olivia jumps at the chance. She comes to realize later she should have asked more questions.
Reclusive billionaire Henry Asherwood III, “Ash,” twice voted People’s sexiest man alive, has asked to hire her specifically for his project. He believes Daphne du Maurier stole his grandmother’s story for her book, Rebecca. Ash wants Olivia to write a book reflecting that du Maurier stole his grandmother’s story.
As the plot unfolds, however, Ash is less than forthcoming with details, including the elusive journals he promises to give Olivia to read, which he says reveals all. Through a series of encounters, Olivia becomes closer to Ash, and as they become more involved, she begins to lose herself and her reason for being there in the first place to his electric magnetism.
From Ash’s housekeeper, Clara, to his driver, Nate, to his grandmother, Rose, each one reveals bits and pieces of what has become an elusive and mysterious writing project. To add to the confusion, Olivia questions the recent fatal accident of Ash’s wife. Is she dead? Did he arrange for the accident? Olivia isn’t sure, but one thing she does know is that there’s a lot more going on than what she was brought to Malibu to write.
Noah Weismann, Olivia’s best friend from college, does his best to keep Olivia safe and grounded in reality, but is it enough to extract her from Ash’s magnetic and dangerous pull. The plot is riveting, and the answer lies somewhere in the depths of a book–whether it’s Olivia’s Becky or Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. Whose story is it really anyway?
Expertly written and perfectly paced, it’s a sensationally haunting story whose plot twists and turns effortlessly, leading the reader down one path and then another. You think you have the mystery solved, but then something else pops up to prove your theory wrong. Excerpts from a book The Wife, scattered throughout, are replete with delectable clues that only serve to deepen the lingering air of mystery.
The Fiction Writer is haunting, gripping, and a powerfully written suspense-filled mystery of the best and highest order.
Jillian Cantor is the USA Today and internationally bestselling author of eleven novels for teens and adults, which have been chosen for LibraryReads, Indie Next and Amazon Best of the Month, and have been translated into thirteen languages. She has a BA in English from Penn State University and an MFA from the University of Arizona. Born and raised in a suburb of Philadelphia, Jillian currently lives in Arizona with her husband and two sons.