I am completely in love with The Magnificent Esme Wells by Adrienne Sharpe, and not just because it’s the first novel I bought for HarperCollins when I arrived here in 2016. Ok, there is that – you never forget your first love – but I am passionate about this book for so many other reasons.
I love it because it’s a father-daughter story as well as a mother-daughter one. I love it because it takes place in one of my favorite eras (the 1940s) and two of my favorite places (old Hollywood and new Las Vegas). I love it because it’s wise, and funny, in a mordant-wit kind of way and because it reminds me of the movies I used to wrap myself up on my mother’s bedroom chaise-longue to watch. I love it because, while my father was nothing like Ike Silver, he did teach me how to play Black Jack and took me on a few memorable trips to Las Vegas casinos.
However, you don’t need to have such personal associations to love Esme. In the months leading up to publication, I’ve heard from dozens of readers (Janet Fitch, Ayelet Waldman, Caroline Leavitt, and many more) who have no such personal memories; they’re drawn, they say, to Esme’s humor, and her grit and the universality of her experience as a woman trying to navigate her way in a complicated world. Never mind the time and place, they say, Esme – like the novel Adrienne Sharp has created for her – is one for the ages. I hope you feel the same way.
Sara Nelson, VP/Executive Editor
P.S. If you’re reading THE MAGNIFICENT ESME WELLS with your book club, we have some questions to start your discussion. Enjoy!